Busic named acting police chief for MPD

Published 1:28 pm Friday, March 8, 2019

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson announced Friday morning that there is a temporary change in leadership at the Middlesboro Police Department.

The police department told Nelson that Chief Jeff Sharpe put in sick leave that is effective immediately and that it will last until March 28.

Nelson announced that Lt. Tom Busic will step into the position until Sharpe’s return.

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“I appreciate Mayor Rick Nelson and the city’s belief in me to lead this department,” said Busic.

The sick leave taken by Sharpe comes only four days after a formal complaint was filed in Bell County Circuit Court on Monday regarding allegations against the chief.

The complaint was filed by former Middlesboro Police Officer Joshua Pratt and makes several allegations against Sharpe including alleged narcotic abuse while on the job.

Pratt was hired by the Middlesboro Police Department in 2003 as a patrol officer, and there are several allegations made against the department listed in the complaint that ultimately led to his termination in May 2018.

Pratt is seeking favor for general and compensatory damages that include but are not limited to back pay, front pay/reinstatement, other job-related benefits — as well as embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish. Along with the back pay, job-related benefits, and damages, Pratt and his attorney are asking for interest, punitive damages and a trial by jury.

An answer from the city must be submitted within 20 days of the filing of the complaint. No trial date has been set.