Konawa Police Force Resigns Following Firing Rumors
KONAWA, Oklahoma - A small Seminole County city was left without a police department after the entire force resigned following rumors that they'd be fired.
In a meeting Friday night though, the officers learned firings were not happening, but they're still hanging up their badges.
Former Konawa Police Chief Joe Leeds had been working for the police department for three years, and in one week, he lost two jobs with the city.
Joe Leeds will no longer suit up in his Konawa police uniform. He served as both Konawa interim city manager and police chief.
In a move to get somebody new and permanent, the city council fired Joe as interim city manager last week, and it was rumored that he along with four other police officers would be fired Friday night.
"It has been a struggle for many of us down here, and for about the last eight months, every council meeting, we all meet the night before, speak the night of, and wonder if we're going to have a job the next day," Leeds said.
Leeds called working for the city a “hostile environment,” so he resigned Thursday. Meanwhile, the Konawa city council elected a new mayor, Frank Shirley.
In a special meeting Friday, the council swore in a new interim city manager, Tony Lowery, who announced that no one would lose their jobs. The mayor said the firings were just rumors.
"I don't know where that came from, I really don't. It was never an intent with any police officers or any of the city employees, we never intended to fire anybody," Shirley said.
Shirley also said that he didn't have the power to fire any officers, the city council only decides the city manager's position, who then is sole manager in charge of the city's employees.
All the Konawa cops got to keep their jobs, but all the officers resigned for various reasons leaving the city with only a couple reserve officers, but no full-time police in Konawa.
"With the way that Konawa is without law enforcement, they can't do anything because we don't have a police chief per se, I think there's going to be a lot of problems," said Konawa resident Carrie Holly, who attends each city council meeting.
The city is currently looking to hire a police chief, police officers and a permanent city manager.