Chief Questions Integrity of Search
Todd Vande Zande, the interim chief of the Canton Police Department, overheard a Friday meeting between City Manager Scott Wood and Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison about the candidates for police chief. Garrison said the meeting wasn't unusual.
The city still reeling from the fallout that followed revelations of a March 15 traffic stop involving City Manager Scott Wood, the interim police chief said this week that he questions the integrity of the search for a permanent replacement.
It started Friday, when Todd Vande Zande called the city manager's phone. Wood answered, but said nothing.
Three times, Vande Zande said, "Hello."
He waited. And waited. And then Vande Zande heard a conversation between the city manager, Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison and a third unidentified person.
They were talking about him.
"I'm thinking, "Well, maybe he's finishing up a conversation because he can see who calls when they call,' " Vande Zande said. "So I sat there for a few minutes. It was my assumption that he wanted me to hear the conversation. And unfortunately, I heard the conversation and I wasn't pleased with it."
Vande Zande said he didn't want to specify what was said in the 20-minute conversation. And Wood has not returned messages left for him since Friday.
"The context of the meeting really was in regards to my professional qualifications," Vande Zande said. "It would be fair to Mr. Wood to have the opportunity to explain himself before any comments were made regarding what was said specifically."
Garrison said there was nothing unusual about the meeting. City managers come to him all the time when they whittle down the list of police chief candidates. Before Woodstock selected Calvin Moss as its police chief in February, City Manager Jeff Moon went to Garrison.
"It's very important that the sheriff and the city (police chief) have a good relationship," Garrison said this afternoon. "I found nothing out of the ordinary about the meeting. The strengths and weaknesses (of Vande Zande) were discussed."
He said he doesn't know what part of the meeting Vande Zande heard.
"I don't know if he only heard the bad parts," he said. "I gave positive feedback as well. He has positives and negatives and I have positives and negatives. We all do. It's just part of the process, the vetting process and that's the way I viewed that."
Still, Vande Zande took his grievances to Mayor Gene Hobgood and several city council members. He said Garrison is not part of the selection committee, which the sheriff acknowledged today.
"I had questions about the integrity of the process once I heard the conversation," Vande Zande said. "And I think that it's best that (the council) investigate it."
And "it may be other matters involving the police department as well," he told Canton-Sixes Patch on Wednesday.
Stay tuned to Canton-Sixes Patch for updates on this breaking news story.