Deputy claims he was fired for political reasons - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Deputy claims he was fired for political reasons

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Senior Narcotics Detective Kevin Cooper says Tuesday began much like any other day in his 14 years working for Saline County law enforcement.

"It was a normal day at work, and at 10:30, I was called into the sheriff's office, and I was asked to resign," recalled Cooper.

Cooper described the situation as 'out of the blue.' In the termination letter, Sheriff Clay Barfield cites a lack of productivity as the reason. Cooper acknowledged that his caseload was low but said he has a good reason. From January to May he was recovering from knee surgery following an injury on the job. When he returned in May, he remained on limited duty, or a desk job, until November, according to Cooper.

"(Sheriff Barfield) was very aware I was on medical leave, and I explained to him, and he told me, 'Well, I've already made up my mind so you need to make up yours by noon if you're going to resign or be terminated'," said Cooper.

Cooper chose termination, but he doesn't believe his low caseload is the reason

"With me running for sheriff of Saline County and not in their political click, I believe that some may feel threatened," said Cooper. "Took this avenue to try to oust me out of the sheriff's race which is not going to happen."

Cooper's partner Deputy Robert Burnett was also fired. Together, the deputies comprised the county's narcotics detective division, leaving the county without one at this point.