Fairland, Okla., nearly entire police force resigns; Trustees hold emergency meeting to hire police chief; One Trustee shuts down the public portion of meeting quickly, interrupting speakers

Joplin News First

FAIRLAND, Okla. — Last Wednesday, August 18, began a course where nearly the entire police department resigned from the Fairland, Oklahoma, Police Dept including Chief Aaron Richardson. 

  • Those resigning include: 
  • Ofc Jeffrey Brown 
  • Chief Aaron Richardson 
  • Ofc Clifford Demond
  • Ofc TJ Burden
  • Ofc John Millard
  • Ofc Clifford DeMond  
  • Ofc Jeff Dixon  
  • Ofc Heather Carstairs 
POSTED AGENDA

Tuesday, August 24, at 7:00 p.m. a special meeting of the Executive Board of Trustees was called to address the need of a police force. 

There was not a place to sit in city hall. And not an empty parking place on Main Street in Fairland.

7:06 p.m. began a closed portion of the Executive meeting where Trustees interviewed candidate for Police Chief. Gordon Williams was interviewed in a closed door meeting. 

At 7:56 p.m. the Executive Board came out of their closed meeting to the public. 

The first issue brought to to vote was a proposed offer to a Police Chief with a possible salary. Mayor Pro Tem Trevor Berger made a motion to offer the position to Gordon Williams who currently works for Ottawa County Sheriff’s office. Pending background checks. And offer a salary of around $44,000. There was a second on that motion. 

Also brought before the board was a motion to purchase a time clock for all city employees to use. Including officers, parks, clerk and others. That passed, brand and price will be decided at a later date. 

FLOOR WAS OPEN FOR PUBLIC TO SPEAK

Two people from the public spoke. Both were interrupted by Trustee Brent Davis. Both male and female stated Davis had used his personal agenda to get what he wanted this past year using his position as Trustee. 

As Davis interrupted the second speaker, a male, Trustee Davis made a motion to end the meeting. The man seemed bewildered and said “I have five minutes.” And he was obviously caught off guard. 

In fact the whole room was caught off guard. 

It seemed like a only few seconds later the motion was seconded by Trustee Lee Hall, and the meeting was over before it began. 

The public portion of the meeting lasted 7:56 p.m. to 8:01 p.m., five whole minutes. 

MEDIA INTERVIEWS POST MEETING

In speaking with Gordon Williams afterwards he told us he would like to speak with his wife regarding the position. He is a lifetime Fairland resident. Loves the town and his children attend school here. 

He would have the power to hire officers on the force. Even officers that resigned last week. 

Ottawa County Deputy Gordon Williams was offered the position as Fairland Police Chief. He told us he has spoken to his supervisor Holly Goforth. He would give the county two weeks notice before moving onto Fairland should he take the position.

Mayor Pro Tem Trevor Berger told the media regarding the time clock, which was something of a contentious issue, “Something that has been discussed before but never any action taken on it. But now he had taken time to research it and they will move forward.” 

Additionally Berger told us he could not comment if former Chief Aaron Richardson is being investigated by the Attorney General’s office at the advice of the Fairland city attorney. 

Mayor Pro Tem Trevor Berger speaks to the media after the meeting regarding his thoughts on the city having a police force rather than having Ottawa County step in and cover it. He stated it is the reason he ran for office. He believes strongly that the people should have their own officers that protect them.

Before leaving for the evening Williams returned and spoke openly to Mayor Pro Tem Berger and those standing in attendance that he and his wife had discussed and he would like to accept, granted background checks were satisfactory.

Nothing is final at this time.

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