he state’s finding that the village police chief is subject to discipline for tampering with a public record will have no immediate impact on police operations at the Village of Ferrelview.
That’s the word this week from Phil Gilliam, chairman of the Village of Ferrelview Board of Trustees.
As reported in last week’s Landmark, the Administrative Hearing Commission for the State of Missouri determined there is cause for Daniel Clayton, 33, police chief of Ferrelview to be disciplined for tampering with a public record. The matter will next be forwarded to the state director of public safety who will make a determination on any punishment for Clayton.
Clayton could see a suspension or a complete revocation of his peace officer’s license, which is a necessary commission to serve as a police officer in the state.
The incident involved a January 2016 arrest of Ferrelview resident Susanne Gilheaney.
It was determined Clayton wrote the citations days after the woman’s arrest, when she was held in the Platte County Jail for 24 hours. The state says Clayton wrote on the citations that the suspect had “refused in custody” the opportunity to sign the citations and nine days later placed the citations outside her apartment door.
The arrest came on Jan. 25, 2016 and Clayton did not write the citations until nine days later, nor did he offer the woman an opportunity to sign the citations while she was being held, the state commission determined.
“At this time I have neither a comment or a reaction to the decision,” Gilliam, the board president, told The Landmark on Thursday, three days after he had first been asked for comment on the matter.
“The village will wait until such time as the Department of Public Safety brings the matter to a close. At this time, the decision rendered has no impact on the operations of the police department in Ferrelview nor Chief Clayton’s status,” Gilliam said.
Clayton’s time at Ferrelview has been marred with controversy, with allegations of over-reach and over-aggressiveness which has resulted in public complaints at city board meetings and the filing of more than one lawsuit against the village.
The current board of trustees has been supportive of Clayton despite the numerous public complaints. A revocation of his license, if it happens, would seem to take the matter out of the local board’s hands.
Clayton has 30 days to appeal the decision that was reached by the Administrative Hearing Commission before the Department of Public Safety can set the matter for a hearing to assess discipline. He has until Dec. 6 to file an appeal.
Dennis Rowland, an attorney based in Kansas City who has represented many clients who have had interaction with Clayton in his role as police chief, said he is not surprised at the ruling.
“The Administration Hearing Commission has confirmed what I have known through observations, and in reviewing numerous incident reports and verbal complaints and court documents since early 2016. Officer Clayton has little regard for rights of the general public or his basic obligation for ethical conduct of a police officer,” Rowland told The Landmark.
The commission determined that Clayton “impaired the verity of the citations” he wrote to a Ferrelview resident.
Rowland notes that the finding of the commission will make it very difficult–if not impossible–for Clayton to testify as a trusted witness in a court of law.
“Because he now has a reputation for ‘impairing the verity’ of citations he writes, his effectiveness and credibility as a police officer has become substantially diminished, basically zero. Any defense counsel will surely question his credibility in any subsequent actions in which he is involved by reference to this matter,” Rowland remarked.