Following the arrest on two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance, police officer Barry Wathen has been terminated by the Pell City Police Department, effective immediately, on Tuesday, June 1.
Wathen is also an officer with the Odenville Police Department. It was in Odenville where he had two outstanding warrants for distribution and it was later that the possession charge was added. This follows an investigation by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Drug Enforcement Unit. His status with the Odenville Police Department is unknown at this time.
For the Pell City Police Department, they are now left having to deal with the consequences of the actions of one of their officers. Wathen was put on administrative leave last week before being ultimately being terminated. Pell City Police Chief Paul Irwin says the only reason he was not terminated last week was because Wathen deserved due process, same as everyone else.
However, words surrounding the Pell City Police Department are disappointment and shock. According to Irwin, there was nothing that would have led the police department to believe Wathen was involved in foul play.
“This is a very disappointing day for me,” Irwin said. "This is a bad thing for us all, no matter where the officer works. The main thing on my mind is the well-being of our officers.”
Irwin also now has to deal with gaining the trust of the public back, who he says have been nothing but supportive of their officers.
“All of us now must move forward to bring credit to police officers,” Irwin said. “We are going to work to make this the safest place to be. We want to bring everyone to justice.”
Wathen now awaits trial after making his $75,000 bail.