City, police department leadership react to officer arrests - - Jackson, MS

City, police department leadership react to officer arrests

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Jackson's mayor and police chief addressed the media following the arrest of patrol officers on corruption charges.

Both praised the police department's command staff for alerting federal agents to the scandal.

Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman said because of measures in place, command staff identified the accused officers and exposed their illegal actions.

Coleman said the department has cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI, and they continue to strive to make sure the public trust in not compromised.

"Anytime you have police officers who are sworn to serve and protect the Citizens of Jackson, and they betray that trust it's definitely a disappointment in those officers," Chief Coleman said.

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson said the arrests stem from a partnership between the agencies.

He said citizens should be assured that corruption will not exist among the ranks of sworn officers.

"We're not going to back off our position that there will not be any corruption in the Jackson Police Department. When we find it we'll cut it out," Mayor Johnson said.

It's been more than a decade since the last federal corruption investigation of JPD officers.

In February 2002, former Sergeant Fred Gaddis was the last veteran police officer to be sentenced in a scandal that involved six officers.

Then Detective Stanley Butler, Officer Tim Henderson, Patrolman Nate Thomas and Sergeant Ronald Youngblood were arrested on federal bribery charges.

They were accused of taking thousands of dollars to protect local drug dealers.

In December of 2000 ex-Detective Wallace Jones was arrested after an eight month JPD Internal Affairs and FBI investigation.

He was accused of also protecting a drug dealer.

In the same year Wallace's sister, former Narcotics Detective Alvaline Baggett, was also convicted of taking payoffs from drug dealers.

Chief Coleman took over the department in October of 2009.

"Chief Coleman has put in place a very good system of vetting these recruits, and we're making sure that there are adequate background checks," Mayor Johnson said. "In fact Chief Coleman interviews each and every recruit."

Johnson added that the police department will continue to serve the people of Jackson while abiding by the rules and regulations of the city, state and nation.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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