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Como Police Chief

Como will search for next chief

By John Howell Sr.

Como aldermen voted 3 to 1 Monday night to consult a veteran law enforcement officer during the screening to find a new police chief for the town.

Interim Como Police Chief Mike Davis gave notice that he intends to resign his position with the department June 30, prompting the June 22 called meeting. Davis, who works full-time as a deputy with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, took the job in September, 2008, after aldermen voted to fire Cleve Gale from the position as chief.

Davis then told aldermen he would be willing to serve “for a short time.”

In tendering his resignation, Davis indicated that would be willing to continue to serve on the town’s police department in part-time employment as a patrolman, Mayor Judy Sumner said.

Elected officials discussed whether a new interim chief should be appointed until a permanent chief could be named. They also discussed officers currently serving with the town’s police department.

“No one has been approached,” the mayor said. “I was waiting for the board.”

“It has also got to be somebody who is familiar with computers; we’ve got top-of-the-line equipment that is fixing to go in there,” the mayor continued.

Como was approved in 2006 for a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant for approximately $90,000 to fund the purchase of certain police equipment, including computers and communications equipment.

Alderman-at-Large Forster Ruhl recommended that town officials consult with Joe Barber during the selection of the new police chief, the grant-funded equipment purchases and the pending move by the police department to a new building.

Barber and his wife moved to Como after his retirement from a career that included 39 years with the Massachusetts State Police. He attended the Monday meeting and indicated willingness to assist.

“I’m willing to do that; I’m making it clear that I don’t want the job,” Barber said.

Alderman Bill Mitchell provided a second for Ruhl’s motion and Alderman Clark Gregory voted with them.

“I’ve got to oppose; I don’t have anything against Mr. Barber; we’re trying to get these people to work and we don’t want them to be offended,” said Alderman Ruby Higgenbottom as she voted against the measure. Higgenbottom said that mayor should conduct the interviews and make a recommendation to aldermen.

“I don’t think we should take that from her; I just disagree,” she added.

Alderman Everette Hill did not attend Monday’s called meeting.

After the vote, the mayor adjourned the meeting with a sharp rap of her gavel.