City Board of Aldermen puts hold on Crime Scene Investigator hire

Published 1:06 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen says the police department is free to hire a crime scene investigator — but not so fast.

In its final meeting of 2021, aldermen told Police Chief Kenneth Collins “do what you need to do” within his budget to hire and equip a crime scene investigator. In 2022’s first meeting, they questioned his suggested hire for the position.

The board voted unanimously to table the hiring of such an investigator until board attorney Bobby Moak could review the applicant’s resume, qualifications and certifications.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Stacy Jones was presented by Collins to be hired as CSI at a pay rate of sergeant, $45,056.75 annually, pending drug test and physical.

Collins said Jones was “highly qualified” and had previously been employed by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the Covington County District Attorney’s Office.

“She is a certified crime scene investigator. She has all the credentials,” Collins told the board. “She is more than qualified.”

If hired, Jones will be the departments’ sole crime scene investigator, be in charge of the evidence room, help other investigators, teach classes and serve as an expert witness when needed.

“Does the position require a sergeant’s pay?” asked Alderman-at-Large Don Underwood.

“Yes and it’s within my budget,” Collins said. “All our investigators are at least sergeants.”

Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore asked if the proposed hire could be tabled “at least until we’ve seen her resume.” Collins excused himself from the board meeting and retrieved the resume from his office, which he then presented to the board for their review.

“Is she certified?” Underwood asked.

“She is a certified crime scene investigator, not a certified police officer,” Collins said.

Answering Ward 4 Alderman Jeff Henning’s question if she would need to be a certified officer, Collins said no.

“You said at the last meeting that your sergeants do several jobs,” Henning said.

“She will be doing several jobs,” Collins answered, reiterating the other responsibilities the CSI would have.

“Can she carry a weapon?” asked Underwood.

“No. There’s no need,” the chief answered. “She won’t be an officer, and in almost any situation police officers would be on the scene with her as she investigates.”

Moore asked if the position had been advertised and said he was surprised no one in the department already had applied. Chief Collins said the position had been advertised and no one in the department would have been considered if they had applied — none possessed the required credentials and certifications to do the job.

“They wouldn’t be qualified for this,” he said.

Attorney Moak — who was present by phone — said a review of the needed qualifications and certifications, as well as review of the applicant’s resume, were appropriate considering the multiple questions from members of the board. Moak will review the materials and report his findings prior to the next regular board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the resignation of Kaeleb Carithers from the Brookhaven Police Department, effective Jan. 2.

• Approved the hire of Kennis Montgomery as a full-time certified patrolman in the Brookhaven Police Department at a rate of $34,562.14, pending drug test and physical.

• Approved pay request No. 4 from Greenbriar Digging Services in the amount of $123,501.81 for stored materials and work completed on the West Meadowbrook Sewer Improvements Project.

• Approved an amendment to the WGK General Professional Services Agreement for calendar year 2021 setting standard hourly billing rates.

• Approved the appointment of David McCoy to the Brookhaven Department of Recreation Board of Directors to fill the unexpired term of Willie “Doc” Harrison.

• Approved to require any City employee that tests positive for illegal substances to enter a program agreed to by the Medical Review Officer, submit to drug testing at their expense, and report to the City every week, and may continue to work with the City while completing the program. The City voted to review and possibly amend the current drug and alcohol policy.

• Approved to increase the pay of Jason Markham, Water and Sewer Foreman, from $14.28 to $18 per hour.

• Approved to increase the pay of Tion Lebbage, Solid Waste Supervisor, from $17.34 to $20.80.

• In the final executive session of 2021, the board approved the hire of a Fire Department firefighter after newly-hired Frederick Clark Jr. did not complete the prerequisites for employment. The board voted 7-0 to hire Canon Travis, pending drug test and physical, at the rate of $28,646.50 annually.