HINTON - Mayor Joe Blankenship announced Tuesday that Hinton Police Chief Derek Snavely has been terminated.
An emotional Blankenship made the announcement during a city council meeting in Hinton, not long after reports surfaced that Snavely had been placed on leave following a domestic dispute.
During his tearful speech, Blankenship said that Snavely was promoted to police chief in 2009 without his recommendation, due to the fact that he was dating his daughter, Bethany. Blankenship also stated that he has always recused himself from meetings concerning raises for Snavely.
"City code states that the office of police chief is at the will and pleasure of the mayor in every municipality, therefore I feel I cannot stand aside any longer concerning this situation," Blankenship stated. "As Bethany's father and best friend, I feel that I'm aware of everything."
Effective immediately, Blankenship stated that he is terminating Snavely's position of Chief of Police in the City of Hinton because of job performance and lack thereof.
On July 30, officers and Hinton Mayor Joe Blankenship, who is Snavely's father-in-law, responded to a third party call to Snavely's home around 2:30 a.m., according to city council members Larry Meador and Cris Meadows.
The victim stated that Snavely left their home with a handgun and that she feared for her life and others. According to Meador, responding officers were able to recover a 9mm Glock from him.
Blankenship said he has spent the past couple of weeks trying to come to terms with the incident that urged Hinton City Council members to address concerns regarding the fitness of Snavely to serve as a certified law enforcement officer.
"Since recusing myself from this situation over three weeks ago, I've been doing a lot of soul searching," Blankenship stated. "In 2009, when I took this oath of office, I pledged to put this city first, and No. 1 — to uphold the integrity and safety for all in this city. I love this city and all the great people in it. And I proudly hold the office of mayor in this city."
Blankenship asked that the public respect the privacy of him and his family at this time.