Sidney Bailey

Glasgow police officer Sidney Bailey, center, sits quietly while his attorney Ben Rogers, not seen, gives his opening statement to the Glasgow City Council during a hearing Wednesday. At Bailey’s left is his other attorney, Brian Driver.

A Glasgow police officer will be reprimanded and serve a two-month unpaid suspension after being found guilty early today of four of six charges by his department.

In a narrow vote that came at the end of a marathon nine-hour hearing that began at 5 p.m. Wednesday, members of the Glasgow Common Council, which weighed the departmental charges against Officer Sidney Bailey, voted that Bailey had provided confidential information to the public and interfered with a police investigation, had described personal vehicles driven by police in undercover drug buys, had made remarks that undermined the police department and had lied to superiors when questioned about the case, all of which violate the department’s standard operating procedures.

However, the council stopped short of terminating Bailey’s employment, which had been sought by the department.

Bailey and his attorneys, Ben Rogers and Brian Driver, denied that the 13-year police veteran violated any of the department’s procedures and presented several witnesses who testified to Bailey’s truthfulness and standing in the community as an honest person. In their defense of Bailey, his lawyers charged that he was being set up by a convicted felon trying to make a deal for himself in his own legal case.

During the proceedings, police admitted they had used the convicted felon, Bailey’s cousin Glen Wallace Victor, to make phone calls to the officer in building their case against Bailey.

The vote by the nine members of the council who were present for the hearing was close with the council voting guilty by 5-4 on the charge of conduct unbecoming an officer; 5-4 on the charge of violating department policy for contact with undesirable characters and interfering with a police investigation, and 6-3 on being untruthful to his supervisors.

However, the council was unanimous in their verdict that Bailey was innocent of the charge of violating the department’s code of conduct.

The special called meeting of the council was held to conduct their disciplinary hearing for Bailey as provided under the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights. It was emphasized early in the hearing that this was an administrative hearing only and that Bailey was not facing any criminal charges.

But the nine-hour hearing had much the same trappings as a trial with charges being made, witnesses testifying and being cross-examined.

The police department’s case was presented by Assistant Chief Hugh England, who also heads the criminal investigation division (CID). It was England and detectives in CID that investigated the charges against Bailey.

The case against Bailey apparently began during a staged drug buy by the police in which a confidential informant, Steve Staten, allegedly made a purchase of cocaine from Bailey’s cousin, Glen Victor. Officers audiotaped the transaction in which Victor purportedly told Staten that Bailey had told him (Victor) to stay away from Staten.

It was also pointed out by Bailey and his attorneys that Victor sold drugs to Staten even after allegedly being told by Bailey not to have dealings with Staten.

Detectives later enlisted Victor, who was facing three felony indictments for selling cocaine, to make cell phone calls to Bailey to gain information about his involvement. England presented tapes and transcriptions of three phone calls recorded between Bailey and Victor in which England said Bailey violated department policy by divulging confidential information about drug informants, by discussing Victor’s own pending charges by revealing information about detectives’ personal vehicles, and by making ridiculing statements about the department. Victor was never called to testify before the council, either by the police or by Bailey.

In his own defense, Bailey testified he never knew the identities of any of the confidential informants being used by detectives for drug buys, that Victor had told him and his family that he was innocent of drug charges and that he (Bailey) was speaking to Victor as a member of the family who was trying to help Victor “go straight.”

Bailey also denied lying to superiors about his involvement and claimed he didn’t know what they were talking about when they first questioned him.

A polygraph test that Bailey was given was also introduced and the examiner, John Bruner of the Kentucky State Police Madisonville Post, testified that the test showed deception on questions relevant to the investigation of Bailey.

However, Bailey’s lawyers discounted the polygraph as inadmissible in any court in Kentucky and brought their own expert witness, Carl Christensen, a retired FBI agent who specialized in polygraphs, to dispute the findings of Bailey’s test because the questions posed were too broad in nature. Christensen also expressed doubt about the validity of statements made in the taped phone calls between Bailey and Victor.

Bailey’s injury on the job and subsequent worker’s compensation leave were also introduced. Bailey said he was injured while doing physical training during a promotions period and wanted to return to work on light duty, which he said he was denied.

One of his lawyers, Ben Rogers, told the council he found it strange that charges against his client were brought only a few days after he returned to work from the injury.

Bailey had been on paid suspension since he was notified of the charges against him.

Character witnesses who appeared on Bailey’s behalf included Glasgow Attorney Robert Alexander; an uncle, William Francis, who admitted he is also facing drug charges; Leo Clark, also a convicted felon, who said Bailey had helped him find jobs and to stay out of trouble; and Mary Mitchell, James Glover and Michael Rice, members of Glasgow’s black community who testified they knew Bailey as truthful and honest.

The council also heard from Joe Ganci, who said he knew Bailey from Bailey’s days as a Little League coach and said Bailey was a person he trusted and that other parents trusted with their children.

Lewis Burns, a Warren County deputy sheriff who operates a pawn business in Glasgow, testified that Bailey helped him recover a handgun that had been stolen from his shop and that he had known Bailey and trusted him.

Later, Bailey told the council that he learned through an informant, his cousin Victor, that the gun had been taken by a juvenile and Victor had told him the names of friends of the juvenile. Bailey said he was able to talk the friends into persuading the juvenile to return the weapon.

When questioned about why an arrest had not been made of the juvenile, Bailey said his main interest was to get a gun off the street and he had reported the incident in an administrative report to the department.

Bailey’s role in solving a rape case in the black community was also introduced and he testified that even though he was instrumental in the arrest of the suspect, he was never called to testify in court about the case.

In closing arguments, Rogers told the council members that Bailey had been set up by a drug trafficker hoping to get a break on his own charges, that the results of the polygraph were not valid, that the taped phone calls could be interpreted in many ways and that his client had not intentionally lied to superiors.

In his closing argument, England told the council that Bailey’s actions had brought shame to the police department, had put several people in danger and he felt the only alternative was dismissal.

The nine council members went into closed session around midnight to consider the administrative charges against Bailey and returned with their verdict over an hour later.

Council members not present were Tim Stutler, Jimmy Ferrell and Jeanie Scalise.

Bailey has the opportunity to appeal the council’s decision to Barren Circuit Court and could push the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Rogers said at the conclusion of the hearing that Bailey would make a decision on an appeal later.

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