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Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Upholds Recommendation to Terminate Trooper Morgan

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 | 08:26am
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced today that he has upheld the hearing officer’s recommendation to terminate Tennessee Highway Patrolman Charles Van Morgan following an internal investigation into his actions after a fatal crash on November 26, 2011.
 
Trooper Morgan was served with a minimum due process letter for termination on January 30, 2012 and attended a minimum due process discussion last Thursday (Feb. 9).
 
An internal investigation by the department’s Inspectional Services Bureau (ISB) revealed that following a pursuit Trooper Morgan failed to stop and render aid after the vehicle crashed on Andersonville Pike in Knox County. Investigators discovered that at approximately 3:32 a.m. on November 26, Trooper Morgan was in pursuit of a 2005 Subaru Impreza when his in-car video showed he came up on the crashed vehicle, slowed down and did not stop. Trooper Morgan drove past the crashed vehicle, terminated the pursuit and then pulled over.
 
Investigators and department officials found no fault with the pursuit itself, as it complied with department policy (General Order 411). It was Trooper Morgan’s actions afterwards that led to his dismissal.  
 
“Trooper Charles Van Morgan's conduct in the early morning hours of November 26, 2011 was a poor representation of the honorable men and women who serve on the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “Upon learning the circumstances and facts of the incident, we completed a thorough internal investigation into Trooper Morgan’s actions. The Colonel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Deputy Commissioner both went to the scene and drove the same route in similar conditions. Trooper Morgan’s actions after the pursuit resulted in recommending his termination.”
 
“We have a responsibility to serve the state of Tennessee with professionalism, honesty, and integrity, and we will not tolerate the actions of those who fail to do so,” Commissioner Gibbons added.
 
The ruling to uphold Trooper Morgan’s termination is based upon violations of Department of Human Resources and Department of Safety and Homeland Security rules and policies, including conduct unbecoming, neglect of duty and unsatisfactory job performance.   

 
Trooper Morgan’s termination is effective at the close of business on February 20. He is entitled to appeal the department’s decision.
 
The Tennessee Department of Safety’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.  

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