Hinton Police Chief Derek Seth Snavely was fired, effective immediately, at the Tuesday night Hinton City council meeting by Mayor Joe Blankenship.
The story began with a domestic incident at Snavely’s home on July 31.
According to a Summers County Sheriff’s Deputy incident report, on July 31, around 2:50 a.m., officers responded to Snavely’s home following a dispute with a family member, in which the victim told officers that she feared for her life, as well as others and Snavely’s. Summers County Sheriff Garry Wheeler confirmed Snavely was drinking the night officers responded to his home. Officers left Snavely’s home around 5:40 Monday morning, around three hours after they first responded.
“I feel like we did everything we could possibly do to diffuse the situation,” Sheriff Wheeler said.
In the end, no charges were filed against Snavely; but on August 6, when Hinton city council received the incident report, they called for an emergency meeting in which council members accepted Snavely’s 28 day paid vacation request. Council also instructed Snavely to turn in his service weapon, badge and police cruiser.
But two weeks later, during the August 21 meeting, council went into executive session for around 20 minutes to discuss personnel issues. When council returned, Mayor Blankenship read a statement which read, “Effective immediately, I’m terminating Derek Snavely’s position as Chief of Police in the city of Hinton because of ‘job performance’ issues, and will be accepting application effective tomorrow.”
Blankenship, who is also Snavely’s father-in-law, openly talked about how the situation was difficult for him because it involved family, but at the end he announced city council has agreed to terminate Chief Snavely. “I feel I can’t stand aside any longer concerning this situation,” he said.
Snavely was not at Tuesday’s city council meeting, but several officers with the Hinton Police Department were there. As of now, Sgt. T. A. Withrow is in charge at the Hinton Police Department.