May 9, 2009
Columbus Police Department officials are investigating reports of four CPD officers engaged in inappropriate behavior during a training visit to Vicksburg.
The officers, whose names were not released by the CPD, are accused of riding around the Vicksburg National Military Park in a Columbus police cruiser, playing loud music and flashing their lights and sirens at passersby, among other things.
A park visitor who witnessed the Tuesday afternoon incident said the foursome were riding around the park in a marked police cruiser, with two of the officers riding in the trunk, seated with the trunk open.
Reportedly, a female park ranger attempted to stop the police car, but the officers refused to pull over.
CPD Chief Joseph St. John earlier confirmed witnesses in the park reported loud music coming from the police cruiser and the officers using the vehicle''s flashing lights to deter park visitors from approaching it.
Additionally, he said, although no criminal charges were filed in the incident, firm action would be taken against the officers if they were found guilty of wrongdoing.
St. John ordered the four police officers immediately to return to Columbus, according to a press release issued Saturday by the CPD.
"Chief St. John and the officers of the Columbus Police Department offer a public apology for any embarrassment its officers caused," read the release. "This incident is being investigated by the Columbus Police Department for possible disciplinary action."
"When we come to the conclusion of this investigation, the conclusion will be made public," St. John said Saturday.
The officers were in Vicksburg for a three-day field sobriety training course sponsored by Sobriety Trained Officers Representing Mississippi.
The Columbus City Council, in April, approved the training trip, including a vehicle and expenses, for Cpl. Spence Wallingford and officers Wade Beard, Heath Beard and Robert Walker.
S.T.O.R.M Chairman Michael D. Vick earlier said alcohol was not involved in the matter.
Tommy commented at 5/10/2009 1:34:00 PM:
Fire all four of them this is not hollywood!!
WONDER WOMAN commented at 5/11/2009 7:43:00 AM:
RIGHT,THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO BE LEADERS OF THE COMMUNITY,AND IM QUITE SURE A LOT OF HONEST,DEDICATED (SIKE!!),OFFICES WOULD HAVE LIKE TO TAKE THAT 3 DAY VACATION.CHECK THE TRUNK OF THE VEHICLE THEY WERE DRIVING ,THEY ARE KNOWN FOR DRINKING (Chief St. John),AND HIS EMPLOYEES,SMOKING DRUGS THEY SIEGED IN DRUG BUST.AND KILLING INOCENT PEOPLE AND NOTHING EVER HAPPENS!!!!!FIRE THEM ALL.THEY ARE ALL DIRTY AND A CPL. WENT ALONG WITH THEM.WHAT TYPE OF OFFICERS SERVE COLUMBUS.i THINK ALL 4 ARE RELATED!!!!(DUMMIES)YOU CAN IMAGINE THE THINGS THEY DO ON OUR STREETS EVERYDAY.(ON THE CLOCK GETTING PAID)FIRE THEM,I NEED A EASY JOB!!!
Ellen commented at 5/11/2009 10:41:00 AM:
How embarrasing for the city of Columbus. If this indeed really happened the way they said it did, these officers should be fired. They were in a tax paid vehicle on a tax paid trip pulling a crazy stunt embarassing our town and our police department. Law enforcement already has a bad reputation. Why in the world would they think they could do something like this and get away with it? If it wasn't alcohol related, was it drug related? It seems our police department is going from bad to worse. What kind of leader is St. John?
Concerned commented at 5/11/2009 11:28:00 AM:
WOW!!! I am appaled at how quick to judge so many people in this community are. I wish the actual complaint made by the park ranger would become public that way all of the perfect people saying these officers should be fired would see that this was a very small incident blown way out of proportion. It always amuses me to read how people want to judge our public officials including police, but when they need something they are the first person they call. I like to live by the addage those who are without sin cast the first stone. I am sure wonder woman has no stones to cast. As for our news and paper, have you bothered to try to talk to anyone other than one jogger that obviously has a grudge against our city to begin with. I always love to see that we are so quick to print all the bad things our police do, but why don't we try printing some of the good. Why don't we print about how these men and women leave their families everyday put themselves in danger, and do it all for a ridiculously low salary. Then they have to put up with people that hate them just because they wear the uniform. I will say yes, there are some very lazy cops in our town, but there are also some very dedicated hard working ones, and the ones that were at that storm conference work their butts off for NO thank yous from anyone including this paper.
Angry! commented at 5/11/2009 2:34:00 PM:
This shouldn't be a shock to anyone who knows that the CPD is a joke!!! They do not care about catching criminals. All they want is a power trip. And to "Concerned" who wrote a previous message, wake up, because the "dedicated" policemen here are only dedicated when it has something to do with their family or close friends. They DO NOT care about people who really need help!
DOWNTOWN BROWN commented at 5/11/2009 5:42:00 PM:
If it is a fact then the officers should be put on modified duty until a full investigation is completed.
East Side Resident commented at 5/11/2009 9:23:00 PM:
Working your butt off and having a low salary has nothing to do with professionalism and representing your city and department in another town. They are ambassadors for the City of Columbus Police Department where ever they go in uniform. Their behavior was extemely juvenile and unprofessional and termination of employment, or at a minimum, a long suspension would be in order.
police wife commented at 5/13/2009 1:04:00 PM:
It is not fair to judge the whole police department for the actions of a few. I agree that they should not have acted the way they did. There were only four officers involved, not the entire department. There are officers out there who leave their families and risk their lives everyday and take their job very seriously. I'm sure these guys take their job seriously also, they just made a mistake. One that I'm sure Cheif St. John is more than capable to handle! Until you actually walk in the shoes of a police officer and face what they face on a daily basis you have no right to call them lazy or bad mouth them in any way. If they are so bad the next time someone is breaking into your house or harassing you or someones dog is using your yard for a bathroom (and yes they do get called for that!) call someone who cares, since you think they don't care.
MUW grad commented at 5/14/2009 11:40:00 AM:
police wife: You are right; we should not judge the entire police force by the actions of a few. However, if Chief St John does nothing about this incident, or if the officers involved only get a slap on the wrist, it will leave a stain on the entire police department.
police wife commented at 5/14/2009 12:59:00 PM:
MUW grad: It is not up to the Cheif alone. He has a mayor and city council to deal with also. If they only get a slap on the wrist maybe it will be a lesson learned for them. And maybe someday if one of them happens to pull you over for speeding or something of that nature they will let you go with a warning. As for stains, don't we all have them.
MUW grad commented at 5/14/2009 3:12:00 PM:
police wife: If I were playing loud music with two guys in the trunk and I refused to pull over when a CPD patrolman tried to stop me I guarantee I would not simply get a warning. I would be looking at serious jail time like those clowns should be.
police wife commented at 5/15/2009 8:10:00 AM:
MUW grad: I doubt it, maybe a pretty big ticket but not jail. And if you did that at lake lowndes or some PARK like they did it would certinly not be jail. I am actually amazed at all of you people screaming fire them or throw them in jail, like they did this going down a busy highway or were endangering others. We have bigger fish to fry in case you havent been watching the news, we have major thugs on every corner just waiting to rob you or kill you, and yes those four may someday save your life!!! Then you will want to give them a medal of honor!
MUW grad commented at 5/15/2009 11:34:00 AM:
We also have major thugs in every police cruiser.
police wife commented at 5/15/2009 1:10:00 PM:
MUW grad: ok let's stop the name calling. I know both of us graduated kindergarten so we should be well past that. Besides we are getting off the subject. The point I have been trying to make is that yes they made a mistake but my God haven't we all!!! Or are you saying that you are perfect? I am not perfect nor will anyone ever hear me claim to be. Just exactly who are you going to call when you are in an accident or someone is trying to hurt or rob you? Oh, that's right, The Columbus Police Department!! Let's see if you think they are all thugs then.
gotcha commented at 5/19/2009 12:16:00 PM:
Police wife I know who you are and I appreciate your concern but, they are gonna say what they are gonna say. Don't worry about it we know what the real deal is and who really works hard at their job so let it go. MUW grad why are you hiding behing a computer monitor and not voiceing your opinion to their faces.
gotcha commented at 5/19/2009 12:18:00 PM:
Wonder woman are you perfect? I don't think so.
gotcha commented at 5/19/2009 12:20:00 PM:
It is embarassing to the police dept but, it will be delt with by St. John.
Hey gotcha, I gotcha! commented at 6/13/2009 4:18:00 PM:
This posting has ZERO to do with this CPD issue ya'll have been deliberating and debating, and really it has zilch also to do with this thread in every other sense.
You, Miss Gotcha, left "fi-guy" here a trail of clues behind for me to track you down...you started yer biz, Gotcha, with only 200 bucks in your account; sounds familiar! And ur from Ohio... wow, would LOVE to get back to Fla. though.
if u still wanna chat, reply here on this thread...I think we've got lots in common to discuss, but it takes two to tango... :))
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