Nickerson Police Chief Resigns Over Discrimination Dispute

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

A small Kansas town's police chief says she resigned because she thought city council members didn't want her to hire an officer who is black. The town's mayor says race has nothing to do with it.

Former Nickerson police chief, April Addis, claims she received a reprimand because she hired a black officer. But Nickerson Council Member Brad Berridge said that isn't the case. "Race was not an issue," Berridge said.

Berridge said the council didn't know anything about a police applicant regarding the person's race. "We didn't even know who the applicant was," he added.

Addis was Nickerson police chief until she resigned earlier this week. The president of the Hutchinson chapter of the NAACP, Darrell Pope, says Addis contacted the organization claiming the City of Nickerson wouldn't go through with her decision to hire an officer applicant because the man was black.

Nickerson Mayor Bill Golding says he didn't even know what race the applicant was until Addis resigned with her claims. "I've been told that," Mayor Golding said. "I've still not met the gentleman so I can't confirm that [what race he is]. It's just what I've been told and what I've read. April never told me that."

Golding says he believes the dispute began when the council decided it wanted more input into the hiring of police officers. He says Addis didn't follow written city hiring procedures. "She didn't, we didn't even run an ad for the position," he said. "And the manual says that employment for the city will be advertised to give everybody an opportunity to apply," Golding added.

So he wrote up a reprimand of Addis. Golding said Addis' resignation and racism charges surprised him. The NAACP says the applicant, John Bremby, who they say is a former Wichita Police Officer, will file a formal complaint which will be investigated.

Golding reasserted that race was not a factor in the hiring of city employees. "It is not a factor. It will not be a factor while I'm here."

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