Byrnes Mill Police Still in Disarray

3 May

Byrnes Mill has yet another police chief. After firing Ed Locke Sr (and his son), the city hired Michael Seibert, whose department was sued for sex discrimination in his previous job. He was only on the job for five months, and then left for unknown reasons. He was replaced by Mike Smith, who lasted until sometime in March before he was apparently fired. The new chief is Gary Dougherty, who was the city’s chief back in the ’90’s. The Byrnes Mill Blog provides more information on recent police leadership.

Ignominiously, the first people to welcome him to the job, at the April 2 board of aldermen meeting, were two towing companies, Highway 30 Towing and Northwest Towing. The nexus between a police department and its towing companies is a place where fraud and shenanigans often occur, and Byrnes Mill has had some questionable activity in this department. Take these two cases during the Locke era when people sued in federal court because their cars were towed, even though a passenger in the vehicle could easily have driven the car home.

And now, let’s look at the city’s new policy, which states that anyone pulled over who doesn’t have insurance can have his car towed. This idea came from city attorney Bob Sweeney, who said that Arnold has the policy. Sweeney, of course, is city attorney there too. While he says the policy is common, it seems to be on the extreme side to tow an uninsured vehicle on the first offense. I imagine local towing companies like this rule, though. To avoid this, though, all you apparently have to do is say you are insured, but don’t have the proof of insurance with you.

Also, according to the Byrnes Mill Blog, when the towing contract was put out for bid (when this was is not stated), the highest bidder won it. And that company was Highway 30 Towing, which I mentioned above.

One last way we can look at the performance of the police department today is to look at their Vehicle Stops Report. This data, required by the Attorney General, shows whether there is racial disparity as it relates to police vehicle stops. Byrnes Mill in 2012 had a result of 6.13 for blacks, where any value over 1 indicates over-representation. That seems kind of high.

So the new chief has his work cut out for him. Will he change things, or stick with business as usual?

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5 Responses to “Byrnes Mill Police Still in Disarray”

  1. Anonymous May 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    How do they hire a Chief? Last one standing or friend of a friend? Maybe they should get help from someone who actually knows something about professional police work to help them? Or bite the bullet and disband. Better than hiring castoffs and retreads…..
    ……shortstop

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  2. Terri Hodak July 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Did you see today’s article in stltoday (July 11) about former Chief Smith suing Brynes Mill officials for ticket fixing and quotas!   Go figure! Now we know why he was fired so abruptly….

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  3. Terri Hodak July 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Mayors Report Mayor Gibson made the Board aware that she and Administrator Perney are conducting monthly meetings with all Officers in the Police Department.

    Also, the above is taken from their June 4 Meeting notes…..I’ve never heard of this before in any City or PD. Who runs the PD? Chief or Mayor. As much as I hesitate to defend Smith, maybe he was on to something. What could these meetings be about? Apparently she didn’t ask the Board if this was good idea,  she told them….

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  1. Byrnes Mill Corruption Focus Shifts | Jefferson County Penknife - July 14, 2014

    […] Byrnes Mill police department is in the news again. I chronicled its previous problems here. While past allegations focused solely on the PD, this time a lawsuit by the (most recently) fired […]

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