Eric Hamblin has been reinstated as a member of the Ardmore Police Department.
But City Manager J.D. Spohn said Hamblin will be returning as a captain, rather than as deputy chief.
The reason? "Due to the resignation of the Chief of Police (Keith Mann) of the Ardmore Police Department, the employee was removed from deputy chief and returned to his previously held position as captain ... Any decision relating to the deputy chief position will be made by the new chief," the city manager said, adding that as a captain Hamblin will be part of the "bargaining unit (Fraternal Order of Police)."
Hamblin and Mann were placed on paid administrative leave June 18 as the result of what the city manager described as an "ongoing investigation into various operational aspects of the Ardmore Police Department." At the time, Spohn refused to disclose what allegations had been launched against the chief and deputy chief. He cited "confidential personnel issues" as the reason for the city's silence.
The city has not budged from its "confidential personnel issue" posture since the initial announcement. Spohn maintained the position Tuesday when he announced Mann was voluntarily retiring as the result of what he called a "joint decision" with the city. Local residents attending the three city forums conducted this week in support of the two men, also complained that their efforts to gather information were met with the same song, same verse.
The mantra continued late Thursday when Spohn was again asked to discuss the issue when he announced the city's decision regarding Hamblin.
"It's still a confidential personnel issue," he maintained.
Hamblin is scheduled to return to active duty Monday.
Meanwhile, the city manager said the search for a new police chief has not yet been launched. He said he had no information about whether a citizens committee will be part of the selection process or exactly what attributes the city will seek in the next chief.
Mann was the sixth chief in the past 16 years to lead the APD.