By James Beaty
Jim Lyles says he doesn’t know why City Manager Pete Stasiak terminated him from his post as McAlester police chief after nearly 40 years of service with the city.
Lyles said Stasiak left a voice mail on his phone telling Lyles to come to Stasiak’s office around 12:20 p.m. on Monday.
When he went to Stasiak’s office, Lyles didn’t expect to hear what he was told.
“I was told my services were no longer needed,” Lyles said. “He said he was terminating my employment for the good of the service.”
“I asked for a clearer explanation after 40 years” with the city of McAlester and the police department, said Lyles, who has served as the chief of police since 2004.
Stasiak provided him with no additional information, Lyles said.
When the News-Capital asked about the matter Monday, Stasiak confirmed that Lyles was no longer employed as police chief of the city of McAlester. He also acknowledged that he personally informed Lyles of the matter.
Asked why Lyles was no longer employed as police chief, Stasiak responded with “no comment.”
When Lyles went to get some personal items from his office, he found his computer had been set so he could no longer open it.
Lyles said he started as a dispatcher for the McAlester Police Department in 1974.
“When I turned 21, they hired me as a police officer,” he said.
Through the years, Lyles has worked in nearly every facet of the police department.
“I’ve worked in everything but animal control, and I’ve answered a few of their calls,” he said. Lyles said he has worked as a patrolman, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief of police, and well as in narcotics and as a detective in the city’s Criminal Investigation Division. He has served as chief of police since March 1, 2004.
Lyles said he began serving as police chief when the state trial of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols began in McAlester, which called for a lot of extra security efforts from law enforcement officers in McAlester and Pittsburg County.
Stasiak said Monday that administrative duties at the McAlester Police Department are now being handled by Darryl Miller.
Miller’s previous title prior to the city budget for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year that that went into effect Monday had been assistant police chief.
However, the city administration has done away with that position and Miller’s current title is day shift captain with administrative duties, Stasiak said.
Stasiak said he will soon begin the process to hire a new McAlester police chief.
Lyles said he has not yet decided what he might do in the wake of his termination from the police chief’s job, although he indicated he may be conferring with an attorney in the near future.
“I’ll figure that out later on,” he said.
Lyles expressed his disappointment at the way his career with the McAlester Police Department has ended.
“I’m disappointed in the way this went down,” Lyles said. “It’s a hell of a way to end a 39 and a-half-year career,” he said, adding he lacked a few months in reaching the 40-year milestone.
As for the more immediate future, Lyles had some more concrete plans.
Asked what he planned to do next, Lyles said “Go ride my Harley.”
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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