No charges coming from rowdy incident in park

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 8, 2009

No charges or citations will result from an incident Tuesday involving four Columbus police officers in the Vicksburg National Military Park, a park official has said.

An incident report submitted Thursday to park supervisors was “an educational stop,” said Rosie Wince, chief of administration for the federal preserve.

Such a stop involves a ranger stopping a visitor and asking the person or people to cease behavior “that may not have been appropriate,” Wince said, adding the responding ranger’s narrative did not indicate a citation was necessary. Unlike other parks keyed to recreation, the park is treated as hallowed ground.

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A witness reported four officers in a police car near Sherman Circle playing loud music and using the flashers and sirens for no reason, alarming those nearby. A woman ranger approached the officers — two of whom were seated in the opened trunk — and asked them to pull over, but the officers refused, according to the witness.

Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John said an internal investigation is under way by Columbus police, which could carry disciplinary action. In published reports since the incident, St. John has said no criminal activity was reported in the incident.

The four officers were part of a contingent of law enforcement officers from around the state in Vicksburg this week for a conference of S.T.O.R.M., or Sobriety Trained Officers Representing Mississippi, made up of more than 200 agencies who convene on issues pertaining to DUI detection and apprehension.

A statement from the organization said an apology to the supervising park ranger and to the citizens of Vicksburg was to be issued by the officers, who departed the conference Wednesday afternoon.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at