The termination of East Ridge police officer Adam Rose was upheld by a civilian review board last week.
According to documents obtained by East Ridge News Online, the Personnel Review Board agreed with acting City Manager Kenny Custer’s decision to fire Rose on grounds of “immoral turpitude.”
Attempts to reach Rose for comment were unsuccessful.
Rose, 29, was terminated last month after an internal affairs investigation revealed that he had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old East Ridge High School student.
In a three-hour hearing on December 10, the Personnel Review Board heard an appeal from Rose and his attorneys. It was noted then that the board acts only in an advisory capacity and that its findings, either for or against the appealing employee, is not binding.
Rose testified that he met the student at his extra-duty job at Food City where she was an employee. He told the panel that he did nothing wrong as the girl he was having a relationship with was legally an adult.
His attorneys contended that Rose’s firing was motivated by his “whistleblowing” action concerning outdated SWAT equipment.
The Personnel Review Board’s letter to Custer, dated December 20, enumerated “findings of fact.”
Among those facts were that Rose had a sexual relationship with a high school student. That he did not violate any laws or East Ridge Police Department policies, and that the City of East Ridge does not require a law or policy to be violated to terminate an employee under the “immoral turpitude” clause of the City Code.
The board also concluded that Custer was not motivated to fire Rose after Rose complained to then City Manager Scott Miller that the SWAT team had outdated body armor, among other inferior equipment.
In the Personnel Review Board letter, it notes “value judgments” that it made.
“Mr. Rose engaged in conduct unbecoming an East Ridge police officer by entering into a sexual relationship with a local high school student, whether of age or not.” And that he obstructed the internal affairs investigation, either intentionally or through negligence. According to the internal affairs report, Rose told an internal affairs investigator that he had deleted his Facebook account after being instructed to do so by his union attorney.
“Mr. Rose tainted the reputation and integrity of the Police Department by pursuing this relationship while representing himself as an East Ridge police officer,” the review board letter states.
The letter concluded by saying that “allowing Mr. Rose to continue serving as an East Ridge police officer would undermine community trust in the Police Department and in the City of East Ridge.”
In a letter to Rose, Custer wrote that he had received the board’s findings upholding the termination. Custer wrote that he had “reevaluated this matter, including the testimony provided by the witnesses and the parties at the hearing.
“Based upon the record as a whole, it is my decision that your termination is warranted and hereby reaffirmed.”
Click on the link below to read the full findings of the Personnel Review Board.