Demorest - Members of the community, including Demorest Mayor Rick Austin, are outraged after Demorest’s City Manager fires Chief of Police for “no official reason.”
The incident occurred at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday, April 16. That is when City Manager/Clerk Kim Simonds and fired Chief of Police Robin Krockum.
In a Facebook post, Austin expresses his anger with the situation. “The citizens of Demorest should be outraged at the termination of Chief Robin Krockum. He has led our city to the number one police department in the state for the past three years in a row...a feat never accomplished before. He implemented vacation checks on homes. He implemented elder care to check on our elderly citizens. As a certified instructor, he has trained not only our officers, but others throughout our county.”
While Simonds did not step out of her authority in firing Krockum, she did not have the authority to appoint Ellingson.
“Chief Krockum stood by his officer’s 1st Amendment Right to free speech and backed it up with court cases involving government employee speech...and he did so with polite professionalism,” Mayor Austin writed. “Citizens should know that neither me nor Councilman Moore were consulted or informed that this was being considered. Citizens should also know that no official communication from manager Simonds has been sent to Mayor and complete Council.”
Austin continues by saying, “There is no room in our city for back room politics, back room swearing-ins and shady deals. Those days should be gone. Make no mistake, the city took an enormous hit today and we are less safe as a community. The concerted effort by the two newly-elected councilmen and the city manager to dismantle public safety in our town has begun...and everyone should be concerned.”
Austin is encouraging the community to speak their voice on the issue, saying “Call city hall and tell the manager and Councilman Davis and Councilman Hendrix how you feel. Robin Krockum is one of the finest men I know. He and his family deserve better. Our police department employees deserve better. I humbly ask the community that he has served so diligently to support him and stand with him as he has done for us countless times.”
WCHM has reached out to Simonds but has not received a response.
More details to come.