Breaking news

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2011


By Rupert Howell

and Billy Davis

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Panola County Sheriff’s Department is overseeing the Sardis Police Department after the city’s police chief and assistant chief agreed to administrative leave Friday.

Chief Marcel Jojola and Assistant Chief Jim Hammer agreed to “temporary, voluntary leave” pending an investigation by the Miss. Bureau of Investigations, City Attorney Tommy Shuler confirmed.

The action was taken Friday morning at a called meeting, where city leaders went into executive session to request an MBI investigation and to hand administrative responsibilities to the sheriff’s department.

Shuler did not describe the reason for the state investigation nor give a reason for the suspensions.

Lieutenants within the sheriff’s department are operating as shift commanders for Sardis police officers, said Sheriff Otis Griffin.

“Most of the officers are still on the job,” Griffin said. “All the brass is gone.”

Griffin said he was concerned that Sardis has only one officer working at night, saying at least one sheriff’s deputy will remain in or around the city as backup for the patrolman. 

“It’s a safety issue as far as I’m concerned,” the sheriff said.

The sheriff’s department will remain in its role as long as city leaders request the help, Griffin said.