Former Montevallo policeman arrested

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hardy Cook of Jemison, a former Montevallo Police Officer, has been arrested by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and charged two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

In January, the Montevallo City Council terminated the employment of Cook after he had been placed on administrative leave in November.

At that time it was also announced that Tom Smitherman had been appointed public safety director and was conducting an internal investigation of the Police Department regarding the possibility of policy and procedure violations.

A spokesperson for the ABI confirmed that Cook was arrested on Tuesday, March 7.

Chilton County District Attorney Randal Houston confirmed that Cook, a candidate for Chilton County Sheriff, was charged with two counts of second degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and that the two documents in the cases against Cook were titles to automobiles that been impounded by the Montevallo Police Department.

Houston said he anticipates recusing himself from the case, explaining that he has known Cook since he had been a Chilton County deputy.

Houston said he did not want there to be politics associated with the case as Cook is running for office in Chilton County. He also said he felt the part of the case in Chilton County was only &8220;the tip of the iceberg.&8221;

Houston noted that Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens has been working with the ABI on the investigation and felt the case would be better consolidated under &8220;one prosecution.&8221;

Smitherman declined to comment on the Cook arrest or the Montevallo Police Department investigation.

According to media reports, Cook, 53, is set for a preliminary hearing on March 29 in Chilton County District Court and is out of jail on a $10,000 bond