Pelham police officer resigns after controversial recording

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Pelham police officer says he’s leaving the force after a group of his co-workers
were caught on tape making fun of special needs students. The Pelham PD says it’s looking in the recording, but they haven’t received any complaints about the issue.

The officer i talked to Wednesday afternoon says that he did.

The recording starts off with the officers talking about students at a Shelby County school for special needs.

“Which one are you looking at?” asked one of the officers.

“Are you looking at the teacher or the student?” on laughed, “which one is happier to see you?”

This recording of a group of Pelham police officers discussing some special needs students and their teachers was enough for one officer on the force to resign.

“It was one of those hard decisions,” said Dustin Chandler.

“You know, as a special needs parent, or really as any parent, you get upset and you’re kind of disappointed,” he continued. Chandler was with the Pelham police department for almost three years. He says after hearing the recording, the culture within the department wasn’t one he wanted to be a part of.

Another section of the recording is one officer talking about students.

“Did you just get what he said? You didn’t. They just start rocking in their chairs and throwing [expletive] everywhere,” said the officer.

“They were so happy to see Al they offered him their crayons,” said another officer as the group laughs. Chandler says he filed a verbal complaint with human resources. The department says that hasn’t happened. Months later, chandler says nothing has been done.

“That’s, you know, what’s a little concerning to me is that they’re just not even recognizing that person has inherent value as a person,” said Joan Wright, the executive director of Childcare Resources in Birmingham. She says the issue is perception.

“Always be mindful of what you’re saying and doing,” said Wright.

“The word integrity means you’re being the right person regardless of who’s watching. In this case these, officers were not being the right people when someone was recording them, whether they knew it or not,” she continued.

WIAT reached out to the HR department to confirm that a verbal complaint was filed. We were told the chief or deputy chief was taking all questions related to this case.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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