By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – The Saltillo Board of Alderman spent more than an hour in executive session Tuesday night discussing the employment of three of the city’s police officers, including the city’s assistant police chief, who are all currently suspended.
The board took no action concerning the three officers but Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams said they will remain suspended with pay indefinitely.
Williams, last Wednesday, suspended Assistant Police Chief Prentiss Brown, Officer Mark Roberts and part-time Officer Tyler Weathers.
The suspensions came because Williams said officers who supported Police Chief Steve Books in his unsuccessful bid to be Saltillo’s mayor were intimidating those who were not loyal to his campaign.
He said he perceived infighting between members of the police department as a safety risk.
“It’s is a recipe for disaster and the right thing to do is to remove the antagonists and that’s who I perceive these fellows to be,” Williams said.
Before going into executive session, the board voted to hire Randy Box, a part-time Saltillo police officer, into a full-time position to ease the workload and overtime in the department. The vote was 3-1 with Alderwoman Jewell Webb voting against the hire.
Aldermen Terry Glidewell and Webb said, before the vote, that they would like to wait until the new administration takes office in July to make any decisions with the police department.
Brooks, who will retire when his term expires June 30, was not at the meeting to represent the department. Sgt. Grant Bailey represented the department in his absence.
Bailey said the department will be able to function until July, when the new administration led by Mayor-elect Rex Smith will take office and begin filling vacancies in the department, which include a new chief of police and new investigator.
Box is the department’s sixth full-time officer and will fill out the city’s night shift.
Arch Fuller of Corinth is representing the three suspended officers in a legal capacity during this process.