Monroe Police Chief Ron Schleuter has just been placed on administrative leave with pay.
He’s being placed on leave until the conclusion of an internal investigation involving secret recordings he made of conversations with Mayor Jamie Mayo, and others.
Before this happened late this afternoon Schleuter spoke with NBC 10 on camera for the first time about the secret recordings.
The whole thing started last week when NBC 10 got a copy of a recorded conversation between the police chief and Mayor Jamie Mayo.
The mayor confirmed that he had no idea he was being recorded, and now the chief admits he did it and that does it all the time.
"For me to cause a headache I apologize for that, but I have no mal intent with a five-year- old conversation,” said Monroe Police Chief Ron Schleuter.
Police Chief Ron Schleuter says the conversation leaked to NBC 10 last week is actually an old one, one of many he's made over the years.
("But I’ve just decided that I’m a no good son of a gun, no matter what I do from a different perspective, said Mayor Jamie Mayo in the secret recording.” “Right,” responded Chief of Police Ron Schleuter in the secret recording.” But if I’m going to be a no good son of a gun, I’m going to be a no good son of a gun trying to do the right thing. Because we can't do nothing if the city is bankrupt,” said Mayo in the recording.)
The chief says he routinely records conversations and meetings as a way to keep accurate records.
"Sometimes you go to three or four meetings a day, keeping the facts straight, it's a note-taking mechanism,” said Schleuter.
not illegal in
But Mayor Jamie Mayo says it was a breach of trust for his own police chief to record their meeting without his knowledge or consent.
"Not just with myself and the chief but also with the other police officers, also with our city council and also with the public as a whole,” said Mayor Jamie Mayo on Monday.
Chief Schleuter says he makes recordings for all kinds of reasons: for investigations, for complaints about an officer, and important meetings with other officials.
"Turn your recorder on, drop it down in your pocket where you normally keep it, utilize it there. It’s no secret, if I’d been asked I would have told him,” said Schleuter.
The chief is not the only one wondering how word of his secret tapings hit the street.
Schleuter says he destroys most of the tapes after he uses them, and keeps others on a computer at the police department that very few people have access to.
"Recordings were burned to a disk and brought to me. Somebody had to steal a copy of that conversation and then disseminate it to the people who have it now,” said Schleuter.
Chief Schleuter says he's going an investigation to find out who leaked the recording and the mayor is calling for an investigation into the actions of the chief.
And now that investigation has led to the breaking news Tuesday night: that police chief Ron Schleuter is now on administrative leave with pay.
The city legal department and human resources will try to find out if the chief violated any city or police department policies.
In the meantime, the chief's duties will be assumed by Assistant Chief of police Herbert Otwell.