Police chief terminated

By: 
Alexis Barker, News Edtior

The Newcastle Police Department is once again without a chief after the official termination last week of the recently hired Chuck Bowles, after a tense exchange erupted and an executive session was called to discuss personnel issues, during the Oct. 2 Newcastle City Council meeting. 

 

As previously reported, in the Nov. 3, 2022, edition of the News Letter Journal in the story, “A new chief may be on the way,” Bowles was hired as chief after the resignation of former chief Sam Keller following the latter’s arrest for domestic assault. 

 

The City of Newcastle and Mayor Pam Gualtieri have been reporting for months that Bowles was on “leave,” and in recent weeks have clarified to indicate he was on “medical leave,” but questions about Bowles’ position at the department were raised publicly during a discussion about police dissolution on Oct. 2. 

 

“Part of this is nobody knows what is going on with the chief. Everyone wants to know what’s going on,” Councilman Darin Downs said. “We can’t tell them because we don’t know. So there is a major issue right there.” 

Councilman Tom Voss quickly added that Bowles had been “back in town for a month” but had not yet returned to duty. He noted that he was unaware of details on his absence. 

 

Gualtieri quickly ended the conversation, stating that it was a personnel issue and would be discussed in executive session. 

 

Before that brief exchange on Oct. 2, the chief’s activity and absence had not been discussed during a council meeting, but the council did vote to increase Sgt. Derek Thompson’s pay by $3 an hour on Sept. 5 because he was acting as interim chief. That is when it was stated by Gualtieri that Bowles was on “medical leave.” 

 

Following the executive session she called for on Oct. 2 to discuss personnel, the council returned to open session where Voss moved to terminate Bowles’ employment as chief, noting that he was unfit for duty for reasons discussed in the executive session. The council unanimously approved the motion. 

 

The city has not yet announced whether it will seek to hire a new chief of police. 

 

Questions posed to Gualtieri and City Attorney Dublin Hughes by the News Letter Journal via email regarding Bowles’ absence and the city’s plan moving forward were not answered by press time.

 

To watch the entire meeting, please visit the News Letter Journal’s YouTube channel.

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