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Merit System Council to review KCSO captain's demotion

Brad Hall was chief of detectives until Sheriff Tom Spangler demoted him in August.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A community panel that oversees Knox County Sheriff's Office management and employee practices agreed Monday to hear the appeal of a demoted veteran captain.

The meeting date still must be set.

Council members Jim Jennings, Jim Wright Jr. and Regina Oster were unanimous in agreeing to hear Capt. Brad Hall's case. They met briefly Monday afternoon to consider his request in the county's Andrew Johnson Building downtown.

The Knox County Law Director's Office argued Hall didn't have standing to seek the appeal because he was a probationary employee at the time he was bumped down to captain. He had been chief of detectives, to which he was promoted in early May.

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Jennings said at the specially called meeting Monday he had no opinion on the merits of Hall's case.

"I certainly have an open mind about it, but I certainly think employees should be heard," the chairman said.

Jennings said he wasn't prepared Monday to act. He said he wanted more time to understand issues being raised by Hall.

The Merit System Council, he said, is "a buffer to make sure employees get due process."

Credit: KCSO
Brad Hall of KCSO shown in a recent photo with Bernie Lyon and other KCSO personnel.

The council is appointed by Knox County Commission.

Hall and his lawyer Scott Lanzon attended Monday's brief meeting as did Carleton Bryant, a longtime attorney in the Sheriff's Office.

Hall has worked nearly 30 years for the Sheriff's Office, distinguishing himself as an investigator.

In April, an internal KCSO investigation found, Hall and friend KCSO Lt. Denver Scalf spent a Friday night off duty drinking. They ended up back in the Old City.

Hall, the investigation later found, insisted on driving his county vehicle. Scalf said he was in no shape to drive. The men scuffled, although both denied it was anything serious. A witness saw them fighting.

Hall's wife called friend and KCSO spokeswoman Kimberly Glenn for help. They expressed concerns about Hall's drinking.

Glenn's husband, Jerry, a part-time fire investigator, found the men and took Hall away and eventually home.

Glenn joined Scalf, and they drove Hall's vehicle back to the City County Building.

Hall was promoted soon after to chief of detectives.

The participants said nothing about what happened for weeks, the investigation showed, although Glenn had quietly recorded her conversation from April with Mrs. Hall.

In July, KCSO administrators quizzed Scalf and Hall as word began to leak of the incident. But the men said they'd only been involved in horseplay and they invented a story about giving a man $40 for gas money in the Old City.

The investigation later showed that the men actually gave the man money for damage during the scuffle to his vehicle mirror.

Glenn stepped forward, writing a long department memo about her role in what had happened. She said she shouldn't have remained silent.

As a result of the investigation, Hall was demoted. Scalf was docked two days' pay and reassigned. Glenn got a written reprimand. Capt. David Amburn, who Glenn had called for help locating Hall's vehicle, got an oral reprimand, as did Jerry Glenn.