Former Bean Station police chief pleads guilty to theft

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, working in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, has resulted in a guilty plea by former Bean Station Police Chief Stephen Kitts.

Investigators determined that Kitts stole at least $1,830 from the police department’s special revenue drug fund between Nov. 1, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2020.

The investigation revealed that Kitts used confidential drug funds to pay personal bills. Kitts falsified police department forms to indicate the money was spent on confidential drug buys that never happened. Kitts admitted his theft and the concealment of his actions to investigators.

The money in Bean Station’s special revenue drug fund may only be used for drug treatment programs, local drug education programs, local drug enforcement programs, and nonrecurring general law enforcement expenditures.

On Feb. 11, 2020, Kitts resigned as police chief. He also reimbursed the Town of Bean Station for $1,830.

On Jan. 20, 2021, Stephen Dale Kitts pled guilty in Grainger County Criminal Court to theft over $1,000.

“There are specific procedures that all county and municipal governments with drug funds must follow,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “In this case, the police department failed to document payments to confidential informants, maintain adequate transaction logs, maintain proper confidential informant files, and deposit seized funds within three days of seizure.”