November 26, 2013 2:54:22 PM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
The Starkville Board of Aldermen unanimously accepted a letter of resignation from Police Chief David Lindley Tuesday after about an hour behind closed doors.
Lindley will be absent from his leadership position as he uses his accumulated leave through the end of December. He will officially retire on Dec. 31.
Tuesday's special-call meeting was the second such on a significant personnel matter within SPD since Friday. Lindley was originally placed on administrative leave Friday and barred from communicating with officers. Former Assistant Chief John Outlaw was named interim in Lindley's place.
The board allowed Lindley to clean out his desk this morning under Outlaw's supervision. He is again barred from communicating with officers during his leave and may not enter the police department unless authorized by the mayor or board.
It is believed an internal SPD investigation was authorized by the board Friday, but the mayor, board and city attorney would not comment on personnel matters. Lindley previously told The Dispatch a situation arose after his wife, Mississippi State University Police Chief Georgia Lindley, accidentally struck a car near a church parking lot before a home football game. Georgia Lindley was not aware that she dinged the car, David Lindley said, and both cooperated in SPD's investigation.
The Dispatch submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for any documents associated with the incident and the subsequent investigation, but city officials have yet to respond to the request.
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the search to find Lindley's replacement could take up to three months. Before the meeting, Outlaw said he had no interest in filling the position on a long-term basis if it became open. Outlaw came out of retirement to lead SPD during Lindley's leave.
"Chief Lindley had an absolutely outstanding career with Starkville Police Department, spanning over 38 years. He led SPD to become the first state accredited department, and later one of only a handful of nationally accredited police departments in the state," Wiseman said. "SPD is better for his service."
Lindley's retirement is now the third high-profile personnel move to occur under this board of aldermen. In July, former Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill was ousted from her position after Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver motioned for her to not be reappointed as the city's second in command. Three months later, Starkville Municipal Clerk Debra Wood resigned her position after aldermen gave her the choice to quit or be fired.
Officials offered no reasoning behind either personnel move.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch