Brookhaven CSI applicant withdraws from consideration

Published 9:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2022

The sole qualified applicant for Brookhaven’s first Crime Scene Investigator position has withdrawn her application.

Brookhaven Police Department Chief Kenneth Collins made the announcement to Mayor Joe Cox and the Board of Aldermen this week. 

“I think Brookhaven missed out,” Collins said. “We lost that opportunity and I hate that.”

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Applicant Stacy Jones — to whom the chief referred as “highly qualified” — was a former employee of 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 at the Jan. 7 meeting. “She is more than qualified.”

If hired, Jones would have been BPD’s sole CSI, in charge of the evidence room, helped other investigators, taught classes, and served as an expert witness when needed.

In its final meeting of 2021, aldermen told the BPD chief to “do what you need to do” within his budget to hire and equip a CSI. In 2022’s first meeting, they questioned his suggested hire, voting unanimously to table the hiring until board attorney Bobby Moak could review the applicant’s resume, qualifications and certifications.

Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore asked at the Jan. 7 meeting and again at the most recent meeting if the position had been advertised. Collins answered affirmatively at both meetings.

Moore said at the earlier meeting 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.

During the Jan. 7 meeting, aldermen Moore, Don Underwood and Jeff Henning asked the police chief questions about certifications, pay and whether the CSI would carry a weapon. Collins said the CSI would be paid as a sergeant, had no need to carry a weapon — and would not be in an investigative situation without an armed, certified police officer — and would not be a certified police officer. He or she would be a certified crime scene investigator, with all applicable qualifications, training and certifications. 

Attorney Bobby Moak said he would review Jones’ resume, qualifications and certifications due to the multiple questions from board members, and give a report at the Jan. 18 meeting. 

Jones watched the Jan. 7 board meeting via Facebook Live, Collins said, and decided she would withdraw her application considering the board’s general hesitancy, and “stay home with her kids,” Collins said. 

“You can’t train somebody in the department?” Moore asked, repeating a question he had asked in the previous meeting.

“Have we eliminated looking for that position?” Ward 4 Alderman Henning asked. 

“Someone else might come along,” Collins said.

“That’s not what I said,” Henning said.

“It’ll be a while before someone else comes along who is qualified,” Collins said. “It takes too long to train someone who is already in the department.”

“So we’re just going off your recommendation and her resume, right?” Moore asked. “So she just decided she didn’t want it. Do you advertise for this position?”

“I advertise every day for that position, Shannon,” Collins responded.

“There will be somebody else as qualified or more qualified and we’ll deal with that then,” said Mayor Cox, ending the discussion.