My Investigation Requests Re: ORPD Police Chief James T. Akagi

As reported on here and herethe following is my complete letter to the city manager and city clerk sent 1/30/15. It was triggered by Mr. Watson’s comments to the press in response to my initial communication regarding our high turnover rate in the ORPD and this grievance filed by Officer Bayless. 

Mr. Watson/City Clerk,

As  you will recall, I originally shared my concerns with you about Mr. Akagi’s treatment of his staff, the public, two grieving mothers and the press nearly a year ago and in multiple discussions since. Most recently, you and I met this past August. I reiterated my concerns about staff morale and also asked you about your relationship with Mr. Akagi prior to coming to Oak Ridge. You revealed that either your brother and he were friends or you and Mr. Akagi’s brother were friends during high school. We also discussed an Order of Protection taken out against Mr. Akagi and you indicated knowledge of it. I asked you directly if Mr. Akagi carried his sidearm during that period to which you replied, “No.”

I was hopeful that recent events would have finally compelled you to at least look into some of the many issues that have surfaced. I am disappointed to learn that, rather than address our problems, you have indicated to the press that you have absolute confidence in our police chief and that you are not conducting any type of investigation into his leadership.

Therefore, in accordance with Article II, Section 9 of the City of Oak Ridge Charter which states that, “The council may by resolution make investigations into the affairs of the city and the conduct of all city departments, offices, boards, commissions, committees, and agencies, and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and require the production of evidence,” I formally request the following items be included on our February 9, 2015 Regular City Council Meeting Agenda:

1. A resolution requesting a comprehensive investigation into the allegations made against James T. Akagi for various policy violations as alleged in the following: Officer Christopher Bayless’ January 14, 2015 grievance file, the January 2015 letters sent to media from David Beams and Jack Mansfield, and the January 2015 emails sent to City Council from Bobby Hill

2. A resolution requesting an investigation into the relationship of James T. Agaki and Mark Watson prior to their arrival in Oak Ridge to determine if taxpayer funds totaling $24,448.68 were unnecessarily paid to the Mercer Group. Mr. Watson and Mr. Akagi have publicly admitted that their parents knew one another prior to Mr. Akagi’s accepting the position of Chief of Police. It is believed that they both attended the same high school in Lawrence, KS and it was reported by WATE that Mr. Akagi served on the Lawrence, KS police force. Request that the investigation determine if Mr. Akagi’s service occurred under Mr. Watson’s father, Buford M. Watson who was the Lawrence, KS city manager from 1970-1989. It is worth noting that according to Blount County Circuit Court documents (E-22639), Mr. Akagi’s ex-wife and children were residents of East TN years before Mr. Akagi moved here from Oklahoma.

3. A resolution requesting an investigation into whether or not James T. Akagi violated the directives contained within the Order of Protection issued in Blount County by Circuit Court Judge Tammy M. Harrington (OP-20698). This order was in effect from April 11, 2012 to June 19, 2013 while Mr. Akagi held the position of Oak Ridge Police Chief and Mr. Watson has indicated having had knowledge of it. While in effect, the order forbid Mr. Akagi from possessing a firearm and required him to surrender all firearms in his possession. Reports from past officers suggest that the order was violated on a number of occasions and incidents referenced in the following articles indicate that Mr. Akagi either pursued and subdued suspects without the protection of a firearm or he violated the aforementioned Order of Protection: http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/02/13/police-chief-stops-two-theft-suspects-at-former-fitness-center/ & http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/02/06/police-chief-tackles-one-of-two-men-fleeing-in-vehicle-on-foot/#more-16769

Please confirm receipt of this request and notify me if you need anything further to have it added to our agenda.

Trina Baughn

Related Stories

Turnover Rate Questioned   http://www.oakridger.com/article/20150126/NEWS/150129909

KNS Turnover Article  http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/or-council-member-frets-over-police-turnover-rate_89658529

Retired LT Jack Mansfield’s Letter:  http://www.oakridger.com/article/20150130/NEWS/150139988/0/wf-logo.jpg

Retired ORPD Chief Beams Letter: http://www.oakridger.com/article/20150130/NEWS/150139988/1994

Watson Will Not Investigate http://oakridgetoday.com/2015/01/30/watson-confidence-police-chief-no-investigation-planned/#comment-78571

Akagi Responds to Beams: http://oakridgetoday.com/2015/01/30/akagi-responds-criticism-former-police-chief/

Officers Leaving in Droves:  http://watchdog.org/195883/oak-ridge-police/

Beams Interview with Butler: http://watchdog.org/196496/oak-ridge/

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11 thoughts on “My Investigation Requests Re: ORPD Police Chief James T. Akagi

  1. I know this may sound redundant, but keep up the great work.  I support you 100 percent.  I know many others that feel the same way.  Steve Cappiello

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