Community questions potential Taylorsville police chief pick

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by Renee Murphy

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 11:38 AM

TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Richard Jewell still works in the community where he's accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female student at Spencer County High School in the early 1990's.

“It's just unacceptable to have this type of record and behavior and be someone in authority,” Lawrence Trageser who runs the Spencer County Watchdog said.

Trageser says even though the allegations are from years ago they are still important now.

“This man at the time was 34 years of age he was a teacher and he made a very bad mistake and that mistake is not easily erased,” Trageser said.

Jewell was hired in the Taylorsville Police Department in 1997 just 6 years after he was fired from Spencer County Schools.

His termination notice says he had a romantic relationship with a student that started when she was 14 years old, sent letters to the student that were sexual in nature, and he was seen lying in bed with the student.

Jewell surrendered his teaching certification saying a "teacher who has engaged in a romantic relationship with a minor female student has committed an act of immorality."

“We want a high quality reputable person with character and doesn't have any of this baggage in his work history,” Trageser said.

Chief Toby Lewis of Taylorsville's Police Department says Jewell has had no problems since joining the force.

“He sees that what occurred those years ago is a bad mistake and he is trying to regain from that even going on 15-20 years later,” Chief Lewis said.

Chief Lewis is retiring this summer and Jewell is next in line to be the chief if the city hires from within the department.

"Would he be fit to serve as police chief?," WHAS11 reporter Renee Murphy asked.

“Ah, I feel that he could,” Chief Lewis said. “I can state that throughout my time period of being the police chief of Taylorsville he's done a fantastic job for me,”

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