- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BALL, La. (AP) - The Ball Board of Aldermen has voted 3-1 to termination of a police officer

The board’s vote Monday night affirmed Police Chief Melvin O. Williams‘ assertion that Officer Nathaniel Ussery violated policy and procedure when he placed in the Shrine Circus brochure a political ad announcing his candidacy for Ball police chief. Ussery placed the ad in March, and has since put up two billboards announcing his candidacy.

Williams says a police officer publicly announcing candidacy in any political race before resigning from his or her position is a direct violation of the police department’s standard operating procedures.

The Town Talk reports (https://townta.lk/1h3su28) Ussery did not attend the board’s meeting.

“I have nothing against Nate, but he knew before he put up his sign (that it was against the rules), but he went ahead and did it anyway,” said Willie Bishop, the mayor pro tem who led the hearing in Mayor Jonathan Dean’s absence. “To me, we’ve not enforced him to obey the law.”



This is the second time in two months that Ussery’s job has been on the line.

The first incident occurred when Williams alleged that Ussery abused the Police Department’s Thinkstream Information System. Williams said Ussery used the computer software to access individuals’ personal information for his personal use.

The Board of Aldermen disciplined Ussery, but he retained his employment.

Audience members at the meeting were divided on the issue of Ussery’s termination, and they became loud early in the meeting. Security officers ejected five citizens for unruly conduct.

Mary Thornhill, one of Ussery’s supporters, said Ussery is “one of the best police officers” on the force.

“He has helped everybody,” she said.

Thornhill publicly called for Williams‘ resignation at the meeting, stating that Williams announced his plans for re-election in an open forum just as Ussery did.

The standard operating procedure is that an incumbent is not required to resign his or her position before announcing re-election.

One citizen urged the residents of Ball to “give Chief Williams a try,” while another citizen shouted that the council tried to “railroad” Ussery out of his job.

___

Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, https://www.thetowntalk.com

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