Clayton asks for judge to review
he law enforcement license of controversial Village of Ferrelview Police Chief Daniel Clayton has been suspended for one year by the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
Sandra Karsten, director of the Department of Public Safety, issued her decision on Aug. 12. Clayton has filed for a judicial review of the matter and is asking a judge to “set aside and hold for naught” his suspension.
Clay County Judge Janet Sutton has not yet ruled on Clayton’s request.
The suspension began on Sept. 1, 2020 and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2021.
In addition to the one year suspension, if/when his license is reinstated Clayton, age 34, will have to serve a five year probationary period with many conditions placed upon him and his law enforcement license, according to the ruling handed down by director of the department of public safety.
Clayton’s suspension came after the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission determined he should be disciplined for tampering with a public record.
Three years ago, Clayton left two citations at the door of a woman who was a passenger in a car he had pulled over more than a week earlier. The citations, which were for failing to obey a lawful order and resisting arrest, said the woman refused to sign the tickets.
But the state determined the woman was never given the chance to sign the paperwork, and that Clayton had backdated the citations to nine days earlier.
Clayton’s actions and behaviors as police chief at Ferrelview, an incorporated village located east of KCI Airport with a population of about 450 people, have been controversial for the past four years. There have been multiple complaints among some Ferrelview residents–and some non-residents who had interactions with him during car stops–that Clayton interacted with them in an over-aggressive manner. At least one lawsuit accused him of false imprisonment.
Earlier complaints filed with the state accused Clayton of excessive use of force, assault and a pat-down described in allegations as “sexually aggressive.” Those accusations were either later dismissed or not set out in amended complaints.
Other previous complaints claimed multiple people saw Clayton handcuff and forcibly push a 16-year-old against his patrol vehicle, while screaming at the 16-year-old to “shut the f*** up” and for the 16-year-old’s mother to “get you’re a*** back in the f****** house,” according to the complaint.
THE DISCIPLINARY ORDER
Karsten, the director of public safety, in her ruling that Clayton should be suspended pointed out that Clayton testified at the hearing that he did not fill out the citations he issued to the woman until about nine days after the date of the incident. Clayton also testified that the incident that is cause for discipline resulted from a lack of training.
Clayton also testified at the administrative hearing earlier this year that he had not completed his 2019 continuing law enforcement education training hours, which were due to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019. He did not offer any cause for his failure to complete the training, the director ruled.
The director of public safety ruled Clayton’s conduct in the paperwork matter “is part of a pattern of unprofessionalism that includes delivering tickets without giving recipients the opportunity to review and sign them, and turning his body camera on and off during contacts with the public.”
The director’s ruling points out that Clayton records his interactions with the public using his personal GoPro camera.
The director also pointed out that “Clayton believes the media and individuals with grievances against him have driven the controversy surrounding his employment as a law enforcement officer in Ferrelview.”
Karsten in her ruling wrote Clayton “is subject to discipline pursuant to section 590.0802(2) for committing the criminal offense of tampering with a public record.”
After his one-year suspension, prior to applying for reinstatement of his license Clayton must complete several requirements. If he fails to satisfy any of the requirements, the suspension of his license shall continue until such time as all requirements are satisfied, Karsten ruled.
Among the requirements for reinstatement are that Clayton must complete 80 hours of training, training that will be in addition to his annual required continuing law enforcement education training. The required training prior to reinstatement shall include:
1. Uniform citation issuance, four hours.
2. Professionalism in policing, eight hours.
3. Law enforcement ethics, eight hours.
4. De-escalation of conflicts, eight hours.
5. Use of body cameras, four hours.
6. Leadership within police organizations, including principles of supervision, 16 hours.
7. Police development by law enforcement agency leaders, eight hours.
8. Reporting requirements under chapter 590 for law enforcement officers and agency executives, four hours.
9. Compliance with open records laws, including the Missouri Sunshine Law, eight hours.
At least 60 days prior to his proposed reinstatement date, Clayton shall submit for the director’s approval a plan for satisfying these requirements.
“No training shall satisfy this requirement unless the director provides advance approval,” Karsten wrote in her ruling.
Clayton will also be required to be fingerprinted at his cost. His fingerprints will be forwarded to the Missouri State Highway Patrol to be entered into the Missouri and National Rap Back Programs. Clayton’s complete criminal history record must be forwarded to the POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Program.
In addition to working at Ferrelview, public records indicate Clayton has also worked in police departments in Mosby, Randolph and Cleveland, Mo.
The Village of Ferrelview Board of Trustees on Friday, Sept. 4 held what it termed an “emergency meeting” of the board. Public notice of the meeting was posted at 11 a.m. on Friday and the meeting was held at 3 p.m. that day, according to a notice posted at the front door of Ferrelview City Hall.
Theresa Wilson, one of the board members, told The Landmark she was not notified by anyone of the emergency meeting. She said she has been told that Ferrelview officials are saying Clayton is “voluntarily taking a leave of absence” from the Ferrelview job and appointed another officer to fill the role in Clayton’s absence.
Prior to deadline for the print edition of The Landmark, Phil Gilliam, chairman of the board of trustees, had not responded to a voicemail or an email seeking comment. On Friday, Sept. 11 he provided comments via email.
“While Ms. Wilson indicated to you that she was not notified of the emergency session that was called, had she bothered to check her village email, or answer her phone when the city clerk called, she would have been notified in those manners. Further, she spoke with another board member prior to the meeting so she was in fact aware that it was happening,” Gilliam wrote.
“Additionally, we have no records of Ms. Wilson attending in quite sometime whether it be a regular or a special session,” Gilliam added.
Gilliam said the board has approved Clayton’s request for a leave of absence, and “will not be taking any further action regarding his employment until such time as the process has reached its conclusion. This has been and continues to be where the board stands on this matter.”