City policeman suspended for not appearing in court

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2001

[10/16/01]A Vicksburg police officer was suspended without pay for two days Monday for failing to appear in court when scheduled.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted in closed session to uphold the two-day suspension of Officer Dewayne Sellars. The disciplinary action was sought by the department’s new chief, Tommy Moffett.

“We want to enforce this policy across the board,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

When officers write citations or make other arrests, they are also required to be in court if the offenders appear to contest a charge. If officers miss a court appearance, the cases are sometimes continued and sometimes charges are dropped.

Leyens said city policy allows an officer to miss one court date with a written warning, but after a second, the officer is suspended. He said that Sellars was able to explain why he missed court, but said the new administration wanted to enforce all of the rules.

Moffett, who took over as chief this month, said officers missing court is something the department needs to work on.

“It has been fairly common here I am told,” Moffett said. “I think it is something we just need to work on.”

Chief Moffett said posting a court docket each week in the police department will also help reduce the number of officers missing court dates.

In other matters the board:

Received two bids for the sale of white goods.

Authorized credit for erroneous sewer charges to the accounts of Vicksburg Chemical Park in the amount of $1,350 and Tamzella Smith for $483. Both were charged for sewer service, but they are not hooked up to city lines.

Contracted with American Meter Service Inc., to read the city’s gas and water meters for a rate of 78 cents per meter. The cost for the city to employ five meter readers has been about $1.10 per meter.

Authorized the building inspector to cut and clean five lots.

Approved the purchase of a new truck for the Street Department. The pickup will cost $26,000.

Approved the claims docket.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. Oct. 25 at City Hall Annex.