By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The police department has applied for Deputy Chief Robert Hall’s law enforcement certificate, according to Chief Tony Carleton.
Carleton and Mayor Jack Reed Jr. initially said that because Hall was working only in an administrative role, his certificate wasn’t required to do his job. But in a recent Tupelo City Council meeting, Hall’s lack of certification was a point of debate.
Carleton said Wednesday that he sent the proper paperwork to the Mississippi Board of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, requesting Hall’s certificate.
It was deactivated in 2007 after he resigned from the department after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges.
Without his certificate, Hall doesn’t have arrest powers.
“We have applied for it and are waiting to hear back from the Board of Standards and training on receiving it,” Carleton said.
According to Robert Davis with the Mississippi Board of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Hall’s certificate had not been received by his office as of Wednesday. Davis said that if the staff approves the certificate, it could be mailed back to the Tupelo Police Department within days.
But if it’s denied, the process will take longer.
Reed said Hall’s certification will allow expansion of job capabilities for the department.
“We decided to apply for the certificate to allow Robert to broaden his contributions to the city,” said Reed. “He has already been doing a great job with training the officers and helping the chief with the day-to-day administrative duties.”
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson is on the Board of Standards and training. If Hall’s certificate request is denied, Hall must appeal it to before the board, which meets Sept. 9 and in November. Johnson said if Hall’s request is denied by board, there’s only one more step he can take to seek recertification.
“He’ll have to take his case to chancery court and it will be decided there,” said Johnson. “A judge will either deny it or order that the board rehears his case. If it’s denied, then I don’t know what happens next.”
After a law enforcement officer leaves a job, his certificate is returned to the Mississippi Board of Law Enforcement Standards and Training. When that officer is hired by another agency, that agency has 30 days to re-apply for the certificate.
Once the certification is applied for by the current employer, the officer either must to go through more training to get recertified, or if something is in the file to keep that person from getting the certificate back, appeal must go to the Board of Standards and Training.
Johnson said most of the time if the officer has been involved in a criminal offense, the recertification will be denied.
Hall was hired in March, three years after having resigned from his position upon pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for releasing a hit-and-run suspect.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.