MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Weeks after Memphis Mayor A C Wharton promised he would name a committee to look into police practices, we're still waiting. In the meantime, ABC24 News has uncovered a classic example of how police can get fired, get their job back and end up climbing the ranks of the MPD.
The Memphis Police Association is quick to point out most officers who have been arrested are cleared of wrong doing and get their jobs back. In Betty Carter's case, not only did she get her job back, she also got a big promotion.
Sgt. Betty Carter was charged with Animal Cruelty in 2009. Her dogs were starving and so emaciated, two had to be euthanized. Carter admitted in court she couldn't afford to take care of the animals and was fired from the Memphis Police Department.
Then she got her job back in December 2010. How did that happen?
The city argued that Carter, whose work in the police department was responding to animal cruelty calls, shouldn't be allowed to return to work. The thinking was someone who was cruel to animals isn't capable of enforcing animal cruelty laws.
An arbitrator disagreed and reinstated Carter.
When it comes to police breaking the law then being put back to work, Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little said, "You see some of these cases, and particularly when you go back and look at the employee history, or perhaps the facts around the original discipline, you question some of the processes that we have in place."
Little says administrators are taking a hard look at the civil service process that allows employees to get their jobs back. Truth is folks at city hall have been looking at the civil service process for years and nothing has changed.
Not only was Carter returned to the force, in September 2012 she was promoted to Lieutenant.
"She was terminated, she was given her job back with all rights and privileges - with full rights and privileges of a police officer - and certainly she met all the requirements and was eligible for a promotion to Lieutenant and received one," Police Director Toney Armstrong explained.
In addition to being fired, in 2006 police discovered there was a warrant out for Carter's arrest on a bad check charge. She was relieved of duty for that and eventually received a one day suspension.