By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – An Okolona police officer has been detained by the Mississippi Highway Patrol prompting a probable cause hearing on Feb. 4 to decide if formal charges are merited.
Cpl. Criss Turnipseed, spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol said Okolona Police Department investigator Romona Robertson was detained by Trooper James Burrow on Friday, Dec. 7. Burrow conducted a driving under the influence investigation on Robertson.
“This probable cause hearing is set for Circuit Court and is to determine if there is enough evidence to file formal charges,” said District Attorney Ben Creekmore. “A petition has been filed in the First Judicial District.”
Creekmore said he did not know the facts of the case and would not speculate on what might or might not have happened.
“I think there is a very legitimate purpose for delivering this case to a Circuit Court Judge for deliberation,” said Creekmore. “If the evidence merits it, formal charges will be made and an arrest warrant issued.”
The hearing is slated 2 p.m. at the Chickasaw County Courthouse in Okolona.
Jailers at the Chickasaw County Jail said Robertson was not put in their jail.
Okolona City Attorney Gene Barton said rumors of the situation had been circulating and he had been asked by the city before the holidays to see if any formal charges had been filed.
“School teachers and law enforcement officers working in the scope of their job can’t have charges filed against them until a probable cause hearing has been held,” said Barton. “If a teacher spanked a student, a parent can’t file assault charges until a probable cause hearing is held. Law enforcement officer fall under the same law.”
Barton said he also did not know the facts of the case and would not comment on what the city might do.
“It’s a personnel matter that I am sure will be brought up before the board,” said Barton. “I’m sure the city will do the right thing.”
Okolona Police Chief Tommy Ivy did not immediately return phone calls Friday. A dispatcher with the Okolona Police Department said Robertson was still working Friday and had not been suspended.
Friday’s petition was filed by Creekmore and Chickasaw County Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Fox Ausbern.