- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, La. (AP) - The mayor of Springfield and the board of aldermen have reinstated a former police chief who was removed from office last year following a criminal case.

Town Attorney Brian Abels tells The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1OBnd5G ) that Jimmy Jones started working at the town again Monday. Acting Mayor Tommy Abels selected Jones, and the board approved the selection in a Dec. 30 special meeting.

Jones and former Mayor Charles Martin pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor criminal mischief. Jones had been accused of trashing a woman’s drunken driving citation as a favor to Martin. Martin also lost his job.

Prosecutor David Caldwell of the state Attorney General’s Office called the move an “unfathomably dumb idea.”

“Having a chief law enforcement officer who has pled guilty to destroying evidence taints the entire department in future criminal investigations and exposes the town to potential future civil liability, should there be future allegations of civil rights violations,” he said.

Brian Abels said the community wanted Jones back so the idea worked for everyone. He added that rehiring Jones was not a violation of his sentence.

Before Jones was rehired, Steve Meyers filled in as interim chief. He said he resigned in October because town leaders shot down many of his suggestions and wouldn’t let him run the department.

“That town does not want to move forward with anything,” he said. “They like their own little system and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Jones and acting mayor Tommy Abels did not respond to phone calls by the newspaper seeking comment.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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