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Local News

May 13, 2014

Walker resigns as police chief

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The fate of the London City Police Department leadership remains in limbo after the resignation of Chief Stewart Walker on Friday morning.

In a brief but to-the-point conversation with London City Mayor Troy Rudder on Friday afternoon, Rudder said that Walker had submitted “a handwritten resignation” earlier that day and he accepted it. Rudder made no further comment on the situation.

The resignation came after Walker appeared for a court hearing last week for an Emergency Protective Order filed by a former girlfriend on April 21 in Madison County where Walker is accused of stalking and “terrorizing” the woman.

New information regarding the court hearing in Madison County Family Court came to light after the closed door hearing on Wednesday, May 7.

Walker attended a court hearing to determine if further action would be needed.

After more than two hours of negotiation between the complainant’s and Walker’s legal counsel, an agreement was made behind closed doors and sealed by the Madison County Family Court.

While details pertaining to the agreement are not available to the public, they are available to the parties involved to do with as they wish - no gag order is in place.

A party close to the complainant has released details involving the terms of the agreement. A civil restraining order has been placed on Stewart Walker, prohibiting him “from any contact or communication” until a set later date.

“Any violation of this order shall constitute contempt of this Court and may result in the incarceration of the Respondent [Walker],” reads the Madison County Circuit Court civil action document. The civil restraining order against Walker is the only agreement made between the two parties.

A restraining order can prohibit a law enforcement officer from carrying a firearm only if specified. The agreement between the two parties does not.

Representatives from Coy, Gilbert & Gilbert in Richmond as well as from Dyche Law Offices in London, serving as legal counsel for Walker, whereas Sean Pierson, an attorney based in Richmond, served as counsel for the complainant.

The order stands as the end result of three weeks worth of deliberation between Walker and a woman who sought the help of the Berea police on Thursday, April 17. Walker was served with a filed EPO by the Kentucky State Police the following Friday.

According to the filed EPO, Walker has been “physically violent,” “terrorizing,” and involved in “stalking behavior” for the past year with the woman following a live-in relationship with Walker. The complainant claims she is “afraid of him and what he might do next.”

In the EPO, the petitioner states she previously sought the help of Mayor Troy Rudder, who—as the mayor— is Walker’s employer and superior. During an interview on April 22, Rudder confirmed he has met with the complainant twice and was currently investigating the woman’s allegations.

The London Mayor was subpoenaed to appear at Wednesday’s hearing but his testimony—along with ten other witnesses—was eventually unneeded. The witnesses gathered to provide accounts on behalf of both parties involved was dismissed at 4:00 p.m., more than two hours after the hearing was scheduled to take place.

In an interview on Thursday, May 8, Mayor Rudder said he was expecting to discuss the terms of Walker’s suspension on Friday.

Walker has been a member of the London Police Department since June 1996. He’s been serving as the chief for about four years. After the EPO was served on Walker, he was placed on suspension with pay until the domestic case was resolved. Major Derek House was named as Interim Chief until a decision on Walker’s status with the department was reached.

However, Rudder made no statement regarding the future leadership of the police department in Friday’s conversation. House was not available for comment on the situation. City attorney Larry Bryson said that he assumed that House would remain as interim chief until the city conducted an application process for Walker’s successor.

sbelzer@sentinel-echo.com

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