Tompkinsville News …

Posted September 4, 2019 at 8:37 am

Who will be covering the emergencies in the city? That was the main question for lots of Tompkinsville residents after the special call City Commission meeting on Monday, August 19.

Within the past few days, two-thirds of the city’s police force turned in their resignations with only four full-time officers left on the schedule to cover all emergency calls and policing the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to one officer, who wished to remain anonymous, seven of the city’s 11 officers resigned with most having effective dates of September 1.

Two officers noted they would work part-time for the time being.

Officers resigning included: Assistant Chief Channing Cain, Tyler Shaw, Ricky Shirley, Ty Hammer, Richard Shirley, Jesse England and Kenny Hagan.

Officials note that Hagan was taking disability retirement.

(Editor’s Note: Later it was pointed out that three of the officers requested to go part-time, but requested limited hours.)

Officers remaining on full-time include Jeff Benhard, Jordan Page and Kerry Denton. Kerry Ford is also an officer but will be leaving for the police academy soon, according to the officer and due to the fact that he is not certified, he cannot work a shift alone.

Due to policy, city officers must be certified–or may work before they obtain certification as long as they complete the 22-week academy in Richmond.

The resignation of the majority of the officers isdue to the fact that new mandates were being put into place by Mayor Scotty Turner in order to cut expenses for the city.

These included, the officer said, cutting all overtime for officers and taking the schedule down to only have one officer on duty at all times.

“In the first place, it’s bad that officers must have second jobs to pay their bills,” the officers said.

Tompkinsville Police dispatcher Gabbi Hagan approached the commission during the meeting and asked to read a statement concerning the matter.

Following Hagan’s speech, Mayor Turner asked commissioners if anyone had a comment on the matter.

Commissioner Anita Bartlett, who serves as the commission contact for the police department, responded. “I look out for you all (speaking to several officers present) and I appreciate everything you do. I have talked with former Chief Brian Coffelt and I have heard rumors from many people–from young cops wanting to be bullies to having sex with young girls.”

She continued, “I am behind you all the way, but I keep hearing these things and it is time some of these young cops step up and be men. I’ve had five or six people telling me the same story.”

“I didn’t know we had any to leave,” speaking of the resignations of the officers. “A lot of stuff goes on that I don’t know about.

“If someone can do better (as the commissioner overseeing the police department), they are welcome to it.”

At that time, Assistant Chief Cain responded, “We were told by the City Attorney not to talk about it.”

City Attorney Richard Jackson then spoke up and replied that conversation was best left for closed session. Mayor Turner noted he was abstaining from comment about the matter.

At that time, the public, including police officers, emergency medical personnel and dispatchers, were asked to leave the room as the commission went into closed session.

Over four hours later, the commission came back with Commissioner Tena Cain leaving the lengthy private session.

Rumors swirled throughout town that Cain had resigned, yet no official resignation had been submitted at press time. The remainder of the commissioners, Tommy York, Beth Cross, and Bartlett returned to open session.

According to City Attorney Jackson, the following actions were taken following the closed session:

* Moved Richard Shirley to part-time at his request;

* Moved Tyler Shaw to part-time upon his request;

* Accepted the resignation of Jesse England;

* Accepted the resignation of Kenny Hagan, due to disability retirement;

* Accepted the resignation of Ty Hammer, and,

* Accepted the resignation of Assistant Chief Channing Cain.

Contacted by the News through an open records request, Mayor Turner had the following comment:

“I’ve always said that I will never discourage anyone from taking steps to do what they believe is best for themselves and their families.

“While the timing of so many employees leaving at the same time appears alarming, it’s just very coincidental the way this has happened. The individuals who have left the police department all believe that they are doing what is in the best interest of them and their families at this time.

“I’m proud of our police department and our officers and I don’t want to see any of them go. But I also encourage them to do whatever it is that makes them happy,” Turner concluded.


The City of Tompkinsville received notification that three of the seven officers who had previously decided to go to part-time status have resigned completely, according to Mayor Scotty Turner.

Seven of Tompkinsville’s 11 officers were set to have their final days at the department within this past week, after commissioners learned of their resignations at their special called meeting on August 19.

At that time, Mayor Turner noted that Kenny Hagan (who had been on off duty medical leave for several months) was resigning due to taking his medical retirement.

Jesse England, he added was resigning to take a position with the Kentucky State Parks. Of the remaining five officers, two have their own business and two are going into another line of work and one resigned. “Not one officer was fired nor was anyone asked to resign, this was a decision each officer made to resign.”

“We (the City) are responsible for all city departments,” Turner noted.

The police department accounts for 34 percent of all the city’s salaries. “Our officers are very well paid…salaries range anywhere from $14.11 to $20 per hour,” Turner said.


When Ricky Shirley became an officer in 2017 working in Pulaski County then came to Tompkinsville later, Shirley never dreamed he would be looking at going back to work as an over-the-road truck driver. But, it looks like that is the direction things are headed.

Shirley, along with his father Richard, and five other Tompkinsville police officers resigned their positions as of September 1.

Originally, the Shirleys had planned to stay on as part time, but after Mayor Scotty Turner’s interview with WBKO aired, they changed their mind.

Ricky’s father Richard added, “We hear, ‘Well, they used to do it with just five officers,’ well, we’re not living in the old days.’”

The elder Shirley noted that when he began working in Edmonton in 1998 there were 3-5 KSP Troopers in the area that were called whenever you had major calls. “However, there are times when there are only one or two troopers covering the Post 15 area, we never wanted our people to have to wait hours for an officer to arrive.”


Almost four years after the body of Gabbi Doolin, age seven, of Scottsville, was found in a creek, pleas of guilty were entered for her murder and kidnapping by Timothy Madden.

Gabbi went missing from her brother’s little league football game in October of 2015 and her body was located in a creek behind the school 25 minutes later.

Madden was arrested just days after Gabbi’s murder and has been incarcerated since then while the court case timeline drew longer and longer with delays and changes.

On Saturday, August 24, Gabbi’s family was surprised when Madden changed his plea to guilty for her murder and kidnapping at the last moment.

Gabbi’s mother is the former Amy Copas, a graduate of Monroe County High School, while her father Brian is an Allen County native.

Amy’s parents–Wayne and Christine Copas–live in Gamaliel and both of Gabbi’s parents previously worked with the Monroe County School System.

Madden entered his guilty please and an Alford plea on charges of rape and sodomy in Allen Circuit Court.

While he had been facing the death penalty in the case, he will now likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Final sentencing was set for October 23 with the Commonwealth recommending the sentence of life without parole.

“To say yesterday (Saturday’s day in court) was a long and emotional day is an understatement, four long hard years of pain and anguish–mental, emotional and even physical grief have taken a hard toll on us,” Amy Doolin said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“They asked if we would consider a plea agreement. We did not want the death penalty to be followed out. The fact is the death penalty is not ultimate justice, according to law, that is the worst punishment you can get. It is not to us,” her post continued.

Amy continued that Madden pleading guilty “was the best thing that could happen (in this situation). We no longer are facing a long drawn-out trial process.

“He had to admit guilt and finally lost all his Constitutional Rights he has had all this time and can NOT appeal while in the pen…Will any of it bring her back or heal our broken hearts? Absolutely not, but we are thankful that God was merciful to us and this part of our nightmare is coming to an end.”