The Meridian Star
Mayor Cheri Barry responded in writing to questions by The Meridian Star regarding the resignation of James Reed, former chief of police of Meridian. Here is what she had to say:
Barry: The chief of any department is ultimately responsible for discipline and order of all personnel under their supervision. Civil Service rules are very specific on how to deal with personnel issues. Progressive discipline is part of all departments of the city. In respect to Chief Reed, he stated that he left for personal reasons. This is a personnel issue.
Meridian Star: Are you aware of insubordination of high ranking officers as being a contributing factor in Reed's leaving?
Barry: No. Insubordination — the disobeying of lawful orders — on any level is not tolerated, and there is a specific disciplinary process through the civil service code for this type of behavior.
MS: Did you ever tell Reed that he could not fire specific high ranking officers?
Barry: No. At no time, have I ever told any department head that they could not fire any employee. The day to day operations of any city department is the specific responsibility of the department head. The Civil Service Code is very precise on how to deal with personnel issues. In order to fire an employee in any department, specific disciplinary steps must be followed.
MS: Have you heard of, or are you aware of efforts within the police department to undermine Reed's authority by not cooperating with him, not following orders?
Barry: No. If officers do not follow orders, there is a process for disciplinary action. Any officer who doesn't follow orders should be written up. It's a personnel and Civil Service issue.
MS: Discuss the recent appointment of Assistant Chief James Sharpe to acting Chief of Police.
Barry: Acting Chief James Sharpe was appointed so that one person would be in charge of the Meridian Police Department. Chief Sharpe will serve as acting chief while we explore candidates for the permanent role of Meridian Police Chief.