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City Apologizes: Controversy after Negative Comments Toward Police, Fire

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

(8/9/18) The City of Joplin apologizes for controversial comments made by a city committee member. Members of the Joplin Police Union allege Harold McCoy, a former city employee and member of the Use Tax Committee, made negative comments regarding police and fire personnel at a use tax meeting earlier this month.

McCoy was suggested for the committee by Public Information Officer Lynn Onstot because he has more than 40 years of experience with the city. City Manager Sam Anselm says though each member of that committee was a volunteer and not a direct representative of the city. Anselm says that while McCoy has a right to his own comments, they do not reflect the views of the city.

"His comments and his opinions about any police and fire personnel are not shared by the city. He let some of his personal opinions interfere with the process, and discussion that really should have been just focused on the use tax itself. And so, again we regret what he said, and certainly would apologize to any of our police and firefighters who were offended by his comments," says Anselm.

Anselm says the Use Tax Committee 'dissolved' after the election and that McCoy does not currently serve on any other committees. He went on to say that whether or not he is allowed to be a part of a committee in the future would be up to the city council.

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(8/8/18) Comments made by a former Joplin city employee are causing quite a bit of controversy. 

Officials with the Joplin Police Union allege a member of the Joplin Use Tax Committee made negative remarks toward the police department, and their fallen officers. 

Shelby Howard, SWMO Fraternal Order of Police President:"First it was disbelief that anybody would say things like that in a public forum."

Fraternal Order of Police President Shelby Howard says a member of the Joplin Use tax committee made "disparing and degrading" remarks aimed at the police and fire departments at a use tax meeting earlier this month. 

Howard:"That was confirmed by a city employee that was there, there was also some, a small audio bite that we were able to hear. Not the whole conversation by any means, but, enough to know that there was some truth to it."

In a Facebook post by the fraternal order of police-- they allege Harold McCoy, a member of the use tax committee and former city employee -- said the police department doesn't need more funding because they've "wasted the funds they have been given" and "only 4 police officers have been killed in the last 50 years .. so public safety safety is not an issue like officers have tried to make this into."

Howard:"That's just inexcusable. There is no setting and atmosphere that any type of comment from anybody would be allowed."

Howard also says the FOP was in contact with city officials.. who, in part, said the comments were "inappropriate in the setting."

Howard:"Tell me when it's okay in any setting to talk bad about the police and fire departments, when you're representing the city, and even take it a step further, when is it okay to talk about fallen officers like he did."

In a statement sent to KOAM and Fox 14, Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm had this to say:

"Mr. McCoy’s comments do not reflect the views of the city, the city council, or the task force of which he was a volunteer. As a private citizen he has every right to share his personal opinions about an issue, unfortunately they were shared in the wrong setting."
 
Howard:"Regardless of what the city wants to say, he was there representing the city, and anything that he says, is directly reflected upon the city. Everybody's saying how 42 years or 43 years he's served with the city, he should know, more than anyone else in the city, that he shouldn't be saying things like that."

The FOP has called on the city of Joplin to remove McCoy from all city committees that he is on, and not allow him to be a part of any in the future. 

Howard also says the organization waited to make the comments public until after the primary election - so the remarks wouldn't sway voters. 

We also attempted to reach out to McCoy -- but were unable to reach him for comment. 

If you would like to read the Facebook post bade by the Fraternal Order of Police in it's entirety, follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/SWMOFOP/

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