Camp Hill Mayor Ezell Smith informed members of the town council and a room full of residents she has hired Danny Williams as interim chief police chief, demoted Chief Johnny Potts to sergeant and terminated police Lt. Derrick Coley.
“I fired officer Coley for continued insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer,” Smith said. “I demoted Officer Johnny Potts for the same thing.”
Potts received notice by a letter signed by Smith that read: …you are no longer Chief of Police for the town of Camp Hill. I have decided that your service as Chief is no longer needed.
The demotion of Potts left the town without a police chief, something that is required for by the CJIS, the FBI’s information network.
“By law we have to have an interim chief,” Smith explained. “I hired Officer Danny Williams as our interim chief. I also hired another officer.”
Williams is currently in law enforcement in LaFayette and has previously worked as an officer in Camp Hill before resigning.
Smith also stated at the meeting that the two recently disciplined officers were sent letters that they could ask for a hearing on the matter within 10 days.
The move left Smith scheduling the officers to cover the town. She scheduled the other remaining officer to work nights.
After the meeting Smith defended the move saying mayors in towns of less than 6,000 residents can make moves like the appointing of a chief.
Potts was hired by a vote of the Camp Hill Town Council on Dec. 15, 2014. With the council deadlocked 2-2, former Mayor Danny Evans broke the tie with his vote for Potts.
After the meeting, Potts said he had been suspended by Smith in April but was reinstated by unanimous council vote.
Coley also stated after the meeting he was suspended by Smith in June but was reinstated by a unanimous vote of the council.
Members of the committee appeared to question the moves of Smith as they were told they could not discuss the issues of Potts and Coley in the committee meeting as it was called to discuss issues in the police department manual.
Smith offered little as to the reasoning behind the moves in the police department.
“My job today and everyday is to protect and serve the citizens of Camp Hill,” Smith said. “That is my only objective.”