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No explanation offered for resignation of longtime Wellington police chief

Published: Tuesday, July 23 2013 6:54 p.m. MDT

Wellington Police Chief Lee Barry, seen in this May, 9, 2012, photo, resigned July 12, 2013. But neither he nor Wellington Mayor Ben Blackburn is discussing the reason for the longtime police chief's departure.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

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WELLINGTON, Carbon County — The city's already-small police force is even smaller after its police chief unexpectedly resigned earlier this month.

Lee Barry, who had been with the Wellington City Police Department for more than 25 years, tendered his resignation July 12. It was accepted five days later by the City Council, according to Wellington Mayor Ben Blackburn.

The mayor declined to talk about the reason for Barry's resignation, citing the terms of a confidentiality agreement between the city and its former top cop. He did acknowledge that there is no search taking place for Barry's replacement.

"We're taking a look at what's best for a small city like us as far as a police department goes," Blackburn said. "We are going to take our time and look at all avenues for the little town of Wellington."

The mayor refused to answer a direct question about whether Barry's departure was motivated by allegations of wrongdoing, again citing the confidentiality agreement.

"People can make up their own rumors," said Blackburn, who is running for re-election to a second term. "We have no ill will toward the chief."

Two calls to Barry's home seeking comment on his time as chief, his reasons for resigning and his future plans were not returned Tuesday.

The chief's resignation means the city of 1,700 now has only two full-time police officers. Those officers will continue their duties, Blackburn said, but the city will have to rely more heavily on the Carbon County Sheriff's Office for police services.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

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