Bethesda Council appoints police commissioner, handles resignation

Community

Bethesda had a busy night during their special meeting.

According to Mayor Martin Lucas, council accepted the resignation of councilman Brian J. Bee, who claimed a conflict of interest, surrounding the current investigation involving Chief Eric Smith.

Chief Smith was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation being carried out by Mayor Lucas. Lucas said that he cannot comment on the nature of the allegations at this time. The mayor said the allegation will be discussed during the April 26 council meeting. That meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the community center.

Also during the meeting, two other police officers tendered their resignations in support of Smith.

The Village also has a new acting police commissioner, but he’s no stranger to law enforcement. During that special council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Lucas appointed former Belmont County Sheriff Fred Thompson as the temporary police commissioner.

Thompson will handle all of the administrative duties for the police department until the investigation into Chief Eric Smith has been concluded.

Mayor Lucas released this statement to us, “With the recent suspension of Chief Smith, my main concern was to have someone with experience in place to schedule the officers to ensure we continue to provide coverage to our village along with the other entities we serve. I have spoken to Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas and requested additional coverage while we address our scheduling concerns. We fully intend on continuing police protection for our residents as well as those we have contractual agreements with.”

Stay with 7News for updates on this developing situation.

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