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After Stop, Chief's Phone Rang

City Manager Scott Wood was stopped just after 10 p.m. March 15. At 8:30 a.m. March 16, his assistant was on the phone with the interim police chief with a request.

Less than 12 hours after a , the interim police chief received a call.

It was 8:30 a.m. March 16. Donna Bell, City Manager Scott Wood's administrative assistant, was on the other end.

She said that Wood "wished to meet with myself and Officer (Daniel) Henley in his office," Todd Vande Zande said Monday in an interview with Canton-Sixes Patch. "I told her that (Henley) wasn't working Friday and that I would get back with them in regards to when that would be possible."

Henley was the officer who turned off his microphone during the last 95 seconds of a March 15 traffic stop in which Wood made sure the officer knew he wasn't dealing with an ordinary citizen.

Until a WSB-TV report on Thursday night, the city said nothing about the stop, which occurred shortly after a city council meeting ended.

Wood drove off that night with a warning for failing to maintain his lane and driving 45 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone. And the officer who pulled the city manager over received a verbal warning for shutting off the audio during the stop.

That violation of police department policy and the city's silence around the incident have raised questions about Wood and if he was the recipient of preferential treatment.

While , Vande Zande's admission has sparked new questions, namely why Wood wanted a meeting with the officer who stopped him.

Vande Zande said he didn't know the answer to that question.

Bell "just said that Mr. Wood wants to meet with you and Officer Henley in his office and she didn't explain what the reason for the meeting was," Vande Zande said.

Wood has not returned messages left for him since Friday. His only public comments regarding the traffic stop came Thursday, during that WSB report.

"I neither asked for and hopefully did not receive any kind of preferential treatment," Wood told reporter Michael Buczyner.

Vande Zande acknowledged as much in a Friday interview with Canton-Sixes Patch. He didn't mention the phone call from Bell during that interview. And on Monday, he didn't say why he omitted that piece of information.

He did say that he never followed up with Bell or Wood about the meeting.

"I don't know that it's an appropriate thing to do," said Vande Zande, who had an interview with Wood on Monday for the police chief's job, which has been vacant since in January in the wake of the Jorelys Rivera murder case. "If they ordered me to do it, then I certainly will. But I have some concerns about it."

While Vande Zande said he has reservations about the city manager's request, he said that if Wood follows up with him before he begins vacation on Friday, he will oblige.

"I don't have any choice but to," he said. "But we'll see what happens."

melanie April 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM
The plot thickens..
KayKay April 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM
You are right Melanie the plot does thicken.  Isn't that the way politics in Cherokee County happens.  Since the police Chief was forced to resign by Mayor Hobgood, Canton City Council, and City Manager Scott Wood, the City of Canton Police Department has fallen apart.  You have officers in CPD that are so scared that they are going to lose their jobs.  The interim Chief has now thrown his officer under the bus just like Jeff Lance was thrown under the bus by certain people in Cherokee County. Officer Henley is a good officer and I would hate to see CPD lose someone to dirty politics again. People in this city and county need to opens their eyes and not vote for the incumbents in up coming elections. 
Rodney Thrash April 11, 2012 at 01:24 PM
KayKay: When did the interim chief throw the officer under the bus? In reports on Patch, the Tribune and WSB, he's defended the officer.
Gary April 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM
all city police vehicles need to be fitted with a laminated photo of the city manager, that way when he is pulled over for a violation of traffic rules the police officer involved won't have to call city hall for permission to let him off without a ticket.
Bob April 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Scott Wood should be fired. The officer should be offered his job back with a raise. I hope Scott Wood is ashamed of his behavior! He is an arrogant jerk!
KayKay April 12, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Instead of focusing on the traffic stop itself, focus was put on the officer for turning his video off. Which has made him look like the bad guy. It sounds to me as though the officer was put in the middle of the political struggles that exist at the City of Canton. The same struggles that forced Chief Lance to resign as this officer has done. Unfortunately once again CPD has lost another good police officer.

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