July 9, 2009
Neal Wagner -
The May 6 incident at the Vicksburg National Military Park, which resulted in the unpaid 15-day suspension of four Columbus police officers, resulted in a letter of reprimand for the lone Lowndes County deputy who was also involved.
Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office officials in May filed the letter against deputy Scott Glasgow, who has been serving with the department for about one year, after the deputy admitted his involvement in the military park incident, according to LCSO Chief Deputy Greg Wright. The deputy displayed a "lack of professionalism and judgment," Wright said.
According to reports, Glasgow, Columbus Police Department Cpl. Spence Wallingford and CPD officers Heath Beard, Wade Beard and Robert Walker were riding through the park in a marked Columbus police cruiser and flashing the vehicle''s lights and sirens at passersby.
The reports also claimed Glasgow and his fiancee were riding in the vehicle''s open trunk. The officers were in Vicksburg for a three-day field sobriety training course sponsored by the Sobriety Trained Officers Representing Mississippi.
After Glasgow returned to Lowndes County, he admitted to riding in the vehicle''s open trunk during a conference with Wright, the chief deputy said.
"When he returned, I brought him in and talked to him about what happened," Wright said of Glasgow. "I gave him a letter of reprimand that will go in his personnel file at the department. All the officers involved actually signed a written apology to the class the same day the incident happened.
"I based that disciplinary action on several factors. For one, I never received a complaint from anyone at the park or at that class. Still haven''t," Wright added. "He (Scott) was very forthcoming with information. I spoke with other officers involved, and they didn''t deviate at all from what my officer said."
Glasgow''s letter of reprimand came shortly before the Columbus City Council May 19 voted to suspend the four CPD officers for 15 working days. The council decision later was upheld by the Columbus Civil Service Commission, and the officers returned to work in mid-June.
"I can''t say anything about the punishment given to the city officers," Wright said. "That was an issue with that department and the city administrators.
"They did what they did in the best interest of the city and the police department," Wright added.
Though Wright did not share his thoughts on the CPD officers'' suspensions, he admitted he had "some strong feelings" on the matter.
"I don''t agree with or condone what happened, but I do think the whole thing was blown way out of proportion," Wright said. "I think the media got ahold of it and just had a field day.
"I even told Scott what he did was stupid. But I don''t think what happened was done maliciously. It was a lack of judgment," Wright added. "But anyone who wears a badge is held to a higher standard by the public, and I think they should be held to a higher standard."