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Mt. Sterling police officer fired

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Mayor Matthew Bradbury Mayor Matthew Bradbury
MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (WGEM) -

A Mt. Sterling, Illinois, police officer at the center of controversy was fired Tuesday afternoon by the city's mayor, according to the police chief. 

Chief Brandon Norris said Mayor Matt Bradbury fired officer Nathan Rauch after the chief refused to follow the mayor's demands to ask for the officer's resignation. 

Bradbury originally asked Rauch to resign, along with four part-time officers on the police force, saying he's "re-evaluating" the police department.

Chief Norris said the mayor isn't happy with the number of DUI tickets officers are writing.

Some Mt. Sterling residents said they support the mayor and said Rauch had been harassing them, just waiting to write tickets. 

"I've lived in this town my entire life and I've never been so disrespected as I have been by this police department," said Mt. Sterling resident Courtney Garfield. 

Garfield said for the past year and a half she, along with several of her family members, have been tormented by Rauch.

"Basically, you're not allowed to drive after dark without being harassed by the local police," said Garfield. 

Garfield is among several people who said Rauch follows drivers, pulling them over for minor offenses. Garfield calls them "unnecessary tickets," for things like not signaling 100 feet before turning or not stopping at the correct spot at a stop sign.

Garfield said the constant patrolling is putting residents on edge. 

"It's enough to make me want to move," said Garfield. 

Chief Norris declined our requests for an on-camera interview, but said he stands behind the officer and said the officer was simply doing his job of enforcing the law.

Norris also said Mt. Sterling has a lot of people coming in and out of town, some of whom are committing crimes. He said Rauch is an asset to the department by taking drunk drivers and drug dealers off the streets. 

Norris said Rauch plans to appeal his termination and has asked for a special city council hearing to be held May 21. 
 

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