MOUNT CARMEL, TN (WJHL)- The state of Tennessee will not take action against the Mount Carmel Police Department for burning old evidence in a dumpster behind the public safety building. Instead, the state’s Division of Air Pollution control sent an advisement letter to Police Chief Jeff Jackson and Mayor Larry Frost detailing the prohibitions of open burning.
Two complaints were made to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation after it came to light in January that police openly burned marijuana and other old evidence in a dumpster behind the police department on two dates in 2015. Mayor Larry Frost said the opening burning was one of the reasons that he fired Chief Jackson in December. Jackson was reinstated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in January.
The letter from the Division of Air Pollution Control states that law enforcement can set fires to destroy controlled substances and drugs seized as contraband, per the Tennessee Comprehensive Rules and Regulations. It also states that marijuana can be openly burned without regards to distance since it is seized contraband. The letter states, “Open burning of weapons for destruction is prohibited by the Division,” but items listed to be burned in the court-order included weapons like a baseball bat.
The Division of Air Pollution Control warned the police department and the mayor that further action could be taken, including a possible civil penalty, on any future open burning. Chief Jackson has said an outside company will now be in charge of destroying old evidence off-site.
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