Home World Mississippi police division that prompted mistrial has ‘competency points’ in its investigations unit, professional says

Mississippi police division that prompted mistrial has ‘competency points’ in its investigations unit, professional says

Mississippi police division that prompted mistrial has ‘competency points’ in its investigations unit, professional says


The Mississippi police division that not too long ago prompted a mistrial in a case that drew nationwide consideration has “competency points” in its investigations unit that impede the division’s effectiveness, an unbiased investigator concluded.

Town of Brookhaven employed William Harmening, a retired legislation enforcement officer, to assessment its police division final month after a Lincoln County grand jury cited quite a few points inside the company, together with a “lack of professionalism.”

Harmening was tasked with investigating the grand jury’s complaints and finishing a assessment of the division, Mayor Joe Cox stated in an announcement Thursday.

Two prison justice professors — one on the College of Mississippi and the opposite on the College of Southern Mississippi — additionally reviewed all features of the unbiased probe, Cox stated.

The Board of Aldermen adopted Harmening’s report at its assembly Tuesday and voted to retain him to help town “with updating the insurance policies and procedures addressed in his assessment,” stated Cox, who pledged to “function with transparency, effectivity and professionalism.”

Within the scathing report in July, a Lincoln County grand jury stated that after having thought-about dozens of prison circumstances offered by the Brookhaven Police Division, it discovered that officers “poorly examine their circumstances,” that the division has a behavior of witness-blaming, that it’s complacent, that it “doesn’t full investigations in a well timed method” and that it “is arresting people with out ample possible trigger,” amongst different points.

In mid-August, a little bit over a month after the grand jury issued its report, a choose declared a mistrial within the case of a white father and his son who have been accused of chasing and taking pictures at a Black FedEx driver who had dropped off a bundle at a house after it was revealed {that a} Brookhaven police detective withheld proof.

‘In want of rebuilding’

Harmening’s 32-page report included his suggestions “for enhancing” the division’s effectiveness and professionalism.

He wrote that his analysis included a assessment of the division’s insurance policies and procedures, in addition to discussions with Lee Bates, the district lawyer for Lincoln, Pike and Walthall counties, and Brookhaven cops, together with Chief Kenneth Collins and his command employees.

“They have been all cordial nonetheless, I used to be not allowed entry to sure requested gadgets, together with personnel and investigative recordsdata,” he stated within the report.

Harmening stated he realized that the division “is in want of rebuilding.”

“The division goes by means of what many departments of its dimension have skilled, and typically it turns into obligatory to attract a line within the sand and mainly begin over,” he wrote.

The division serves about 11,600 residents within the metropolis about 55 miles south of the state capital, Jackson. It had 27 officers, together with its chief, as of final month.

He cited quite a few points inside the division, together with “a extreme manpower scarcity,” “a complicated and inefficient command construction,” “an absence of officer coaching,” “competency points” in its investigations unit and “an absence of integration with the 2 prosecutors’ places of work they work with.”

“These are all issues that may be fastened with time, a brand new set of well-defined insurance policies and protocols, and a brand new imaginative and prescient for the Division,” he wrote.

Collins, the chief, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Harmening additionally beneficial making a police committee inside the Board of Aldermen, composed of the mayor, two board members and town lawyer.



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