PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Pigeon Forge Police Dept. has fired three of its own. On Tuesday, Chief of Police Jack Baldwin said the terminated officers, identified as Trinity Brown, Jefferson Thigpen, and Michael Musgrove.
Pigeon Forge Chief of Police Jack Baldwin announces the termination of three officers. (WVLT/Kyle Grainger)
The three were reportedly recorded discussing killing other officers. The recording led to investigations by the local district attorney's officer and the U.S. Attorney's office.
No criminal charges were filed against the three officers, said Baldwin. They were fired, he explained, "to ensure the stability and cohesion of the force."
"Officers on the force must know that every other officer supports them," said Baldwin.
An unrelated harassment complaint led to the discovery of the recording, according to the Pigeon Forge Police Dept. It reportedly began on June 7 when police were dispatched to check on the well-being of someone visiting Pigeon Forge.
Officers spoke with that person's girlfriend and got personal information from her, including her phone number. It wasn't long before she started receiving text messages and a Facebook "friend" request from someone who she believed to be one of the officers.
She filed a harassment complaint on June 9, police said. An investigation into that incident determined no one had broken the law and the incident was referred to a shift supervisor, Lt. Gary Campbell.
Campbell was listening to police cruiser recordings from June 8 when he heard Brown, Thigpen, and Musgrove talking about killing other officers. Apparently, Baldwin added, they had discussed the plan previously as well.
Baldwin said he sat down with the three officers on June 19 and asked each of them whether he had discussed harming or killing another officer or officers.
All three said they had not and were suspended without pay for conduct unbecoming an officer.
"Suspending them and subsequently terminating their employment were warranted, both because of the recorded discussion they had about killing other officers and because they lied about it when they were confronted," said Baldwin.