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Pair from Columbus among SPD chief finalists


Fred Shelton, left, and Bobby Grimes

Fred Shelton, left, and Bobby Grimes



By Carl Smith and Sarah Fowler



Four candidates with Mississippi law enforcement ties have emerged as finalists for Starkville's vacant police chief position. 


The four candidates are: Bobby Grimes, former Lowndes County Narcotics Unit commander; Columbus Police Department Capt. Fred Shelton ; Starkville Police Department Capt. Frank Nichols and James Reed, former Meridian police chief. 


Interviews will be held Tuesday during the board's 5:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall. 


Nichols is SPD's only internal applicant. He worked his way from patrolman to captain after joining the force in 1992. Nichols also accrued an extensive military resume after serving in both Gulf Wars. 


Reed resigned from his post in 2013 after six months of service when questions arose over his certification as a police officer, per a report from the Meridian Star. After citing personal reasons for his leave, an internal city investigation was launched over the departure. 


He previously worked for the Mississippi Department of Justice, as a probation officer for the state and as an investigator for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. 


Grimes is retired from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He is also the former head of the cold case unit with the Clay County Sheriff's Department. Most recently, he was the head of the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Narcotics Unit. He served in the position for two years.  


Shelton is a 30-year veteran of Columbus Police Department. He has an associates degree in criminal justice, a bachelor's degree in religious arts and education, and a master's degree in religious arts and Christian psychology. He is also a military veteran. 


Former SPD Chief David Lindley retired Dec. 31. The long-serving chief was placed on administrative leave by aldermen prior to accepting his resignation in November. 


It is believed the board authorized an internal investigation after a situation arose when his wife, former MSU police Chief Georgia Lindley, struck a parked car last year before the MSU-Alabama football game. Georgia Lindley resigned her post in December after she was charged with driving under the influence that same month. 


The incoming SPD chief is expected to: work closely with the mayor, board of aldermen and other city department heads; prepare and administer the department's budget; evaluate subordinates' job performances; direct the investigations department; and oversee all Starkville police functions. 


The new hire will also have a role in the hiring process for the assistant chief's position. Aldermen agreed last week to continue forward with that search process. 


The police chief's position is set at a salary grade 18 - about $65,000 to almost $87,000 - but the expected pay range for a new hire is capped at $77,000, according to the city's advertising for the position.




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