Palmer police chief to return to the force after leave over controversial Facebook posts

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In a Facebook post on the CIty of Palmer's page, City Manager John Moosey announced Palmer’s Chief of Police Dwayne Shelton will be returning to duty.

The post reads "It is a decision that I made after a full and careful review. The Facebook postings caused hurt to many and shook your confidence in the City of Palmer. I believe that Chief Shelton and I will be able to lead the changes that are necessary to make Palmer a great place for all."

Shelton was placed on administrative leave with pay after past social media postings resurfaced.

Days after the story broke a rally was held in Palmer by the community against police brutality. During the protest, some protesters also called for Palmer Police Department Chief Dwayne Shelton to be fired after his social media posts in 2018 that referred to Black Lives Matter as a hate group.

Monday's Facebook post included a statement from Chief Shelton, which read in part: "As a police officer I have always taken my responsibility seriously. During my tenure with the City of Palmer, I have consistently treated people fairly and made decisions based on crimes being committed and not on social status, sexual orientation, gender, race, or any other demographic. We all deserve to be treated fairly and with respect."

Moosey says moving forward steps will be taken by the city to ensure a healthy relationship between public officials and the community.

Some of the steps being taken include:

  • Develop an educational program for all City of Palmer employees to understand personal and racial bias.

  • Review all uses of force.

  • As required by Alaska State Statute, law enforcement officers involved in domestic abuse shall immediately be placed on administrative leave, prosecuted and if found guilty terminated.

  • Review of all formal complaints by City Human Resources Department.

This is a developing story, check back for details.

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