Lexington police chief and captain fired

Clarence Yarbrough's four-year reign as police chief ended Monday with city council's decision to let him and his captain, Johnny Wooldridge, go.

“We had to relinquish our keys, our credentials, immediately and that was the end of our tenure,” said Yarbrough.

Combined, the two men have nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience. Yarbrough says council member Robert Hasselbush told him, they were overqualified.

“How can a person be overqualified for the safety and lives of people in the community? “He referred to me as a Cadillac driving on a dirt road,” said Yarbrough.

“I wasn't surprised because there was some stuff going on in the background we were aware of,” said Wooldridge.

The two men were the only black officers on the small force. They believe it had something to do with it.

At a council meeting Wednesday night the public came out with an uproar. Council members responded saying the decision was not based on race or personality, but strictly business.

“We searched every avenue with a finance professional to try to come up with a solution that didn't involve ridding anyone. We evaluated and considered every employee,” said Garland Moffett, with city council.

The council claims the money should be spent on roads and overdue infrastructure improvements. The community, in droves, says otherwise. With all the uproar, they decided to table the item for now.

“I thought they were cowards. They couldn't face the music so they had to wait to get their ducks in a row,” said Opal Lewis, citizen.

The former captain and chief say for the short term they'll be fine financially but could fall on hard times if they don't find jobs.

“My wife is supportive, kids supportive. We are going to be alright,” said Yarbrough.

“I hope we are able to stay together and do whatever we need to do..maybe have a recall election or do something to correct this because I feel like it's a black eye on our town,” said Lewis.

 

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