TUPELO – Deputy Police Chief Robert Hall has been back on the job for two months but still hasn’t been recertified as an officer.
Without the certification, Hall doesn’t have arrest powers but can work as an administrator. That’s where he’s needed, said Police Chief Tony Carleton.
Carleton had 30 days after Hall started work on March 29 to reapply for his law enforcement certificate through the Board of Standards and Training.
Hall’s certificate was deactivated when he resigned from the department in 2006 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to his handling of a hit-and-run accident.
He returned to the post on March 29 without the recertification. For the job he does, Carleton said, he doesn’t need it.
“He’s in an administrative position and his job is to focus on improving polices and procedures and to help the department to connect with the community so we all can have a good working relationship,” said Carleton.
“He is not on the streets arresting people; we have other officers for that. Deputy Chief Hall is more important to the department working from an administrative standpoint than he would be on the streets.”
Carleton said he spoke with the Board of Standards and there is no certification Hall needs to hold his current position as long as he isn’t working in an enforcement role.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson, chairman of the Board of Standards and Training, said the matter was discussed last week “and we were told there had been no request for his certificate. We don’t know what the delay has been in applying for it.”
Carleton said he was aware of the deadline and because Hall was not going to be serving in an enforcement role, the certificate was not applied for.
Johnson did say that cases where the officer has been involved in a criminal violation, the recertification usually will be denied. But the applicant has the right to appeal to the board and plead his case. If that fails then the matter would have to be settled in Chancery Court.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said Hall’s lack of certification is not a concern at this time.
“I think Robert is doing a great job,” said Reed. “He is doing exactly what I’d hoped. He has added a lot of leadership and energy to the department. I think he has already proven his value to the city and the department since he was brought on.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal