Most of you know retired Officer Kevin Southard and some of you may have heard rumors of how and why he retired from the Arlington Police Department. This should help shed some light on the issue and clear up some rumors.
In August 2016, Officer Southard filed a complaint against Deputy Chief Lowery for profanity in briefing. This lead to several meetings with Chief Kolbye regarding the complaint against Chief Lowery. During these meetings, Chief Kolbye became concerned that Officer Southard was recording their conversations, and in hindsight, it’s a good thing he did, as you will soon see. Officer Southard met with Chief Kolbye on Sept. 7, 2016 and received a response to the complaint, which focused more on Officer Southard than the complaint on Chief Lowery. Chief Kolbye asked Officer Southard if he was recording their conversation and Officer Southard stated he was. Chief Kolbye demand a copy of the recording.
On Sept. 20, 2016 Officer Southard received an order from Chief Kolbye to also provide audiotapes to him of a previous meeting in August 2015. Officer Southard provide all requested audio recordings, except for the recording that took place in August of 2015, which had been lost. Chief Kolbye, not believing Officer Southard, filed a truthfulness complaint against him. As a result, on Sept. 30, 2016 Officer Southard had his badge and gun taken away and was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the truthfulness investigation.
Chief Kolbye claimed that during a meeting on August 26, 2015, regarding a grievance, that Chief Kolbye asked Officer Southard if he was recording him. In his statement, Chief Kolbye stated “My recollection of the meeting event is extremely good. I recall the exact position of the chairs and how we were seated in the second floor conference room. I am certain that I specifically asked Officer Southard if he was recording our conversation. Any allegation that I did not ask him this question is not factual. He said he was not. During the meeting, Officer Southard was disrespectful. I documented his actions and statements in a memorandum to his file”.
While under investigation, Officer Southard contacted the Apple Corp., who helped Officer Southard recover the recording from the August 2015 meeting. The recording, which was the basis for Chief Kolbye’s complaint, revealed that Chief Kolbye did NOT asked Officer Southard if he was recording them. As a result of the recording, the truthfulness complaint was dropped against Officer Southard, but IAD amended the complaint to Judgment and Unbecoming Conduct.
Officer Southard submitted his letter to retire on Dec. 7, 2016. In Jan. 2017, Officer Southard received his TCOLE Separation of License F5 (Discharge Status) which showed a General Discharge. Under TCOLE guidelines, a General Discharge is defined as: Terminated by, retired or resigned from, or died while employed by a law enforcement agency and the separation was related to a disciplinary investigation or conduct that is not included in the definition of dishonorably discharged, or was terminated by or retired or resigned from a law enforcement agency and the separation was for a documented performance problem and was not because of a reduction in workforce or an at-will employment decision.
Officer Southard, after receiving his F5, filed an appeal hearing with TCOLE to challenge his F5 ruling. On July 21, 2017 Officer Southard’s appeal was held at the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Ft. Worth, TX. The Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of Office Southard and ordered his F5 to be changed to an Honorable Discharge. The Administrative Law Judge ruling (Attached) is a MUST READ, referring to Chief Kolbye’s “False Allegation” several times and ruling that “Petitioner’s (Southard) judgment was, at the very least, as reasonable as that of his supervisors”.
As a result, Officer Southard filed a truthfulness complaint (Attached) against Arlington Police Department Assistant Chief Kevin Kolbye with the City Manager, Trey Yelverton. The complaint alleges that Chief Kolbye was untruthful in the statement (Attached) he provided to the Arlington Police Department Internal Affairs Division.
The false allegations made by Chief Kolbye could have had devastating consequences for Officer Southard. Had the Apple Corp. not been able to retrieve the August 2015 recording, you can bet the truthfulness complaint against Officer Southard would have been upheld, which would have resulted in Officer Southard being terminated from the Police Department and given a Dishonorable Discharge on his Separation of License F5 with TCOLE, ending any future law enforcement career.
In addition to the complaint, Officer Southard filed a Brady notification with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. The DA did respond and informed Officer Southard that they were waiting on the City to conduct an investigation into the alleged misconduct.
We will notify you of the City Manager’s response, once it becomes available.
“One may smile, and smile and be a villain”
Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5