South Pittsburg makes emergency police chief hire

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The Board of Mayor and Commissioners of South Pittsburg convened an emergency special call meeting for the purposes of hiring a new police chief. The city has seemingly had a rotating door for the police chief position as this new hire makes the “fourth chief in three years,” as illustrated by one commissioner during the meeting.

The Board unanimously embraced the City Administrator Gene Vess’ recommendation to approve Clifford Wayne Jordan as the new top cop for the city. Vess said, “I checked with the attorney to make sure that we could do this as far as what our charter reads as far as having an emergency meeting since we do have it posted to receive applications up to November 13, we’re not in violation of any state laws, city ordinances, municipal codes, or our personnel policy. So it’s my recommendation tonight that, after interviewing…four applicants…that we hire Clifford Wayne Jordan as police chief.” Jordan is currently a police officer with the nearby Jasper Police Department which, Vess contends, makes him “familiar with the area.” Vess said that there would still be some communication yet to be had with Jasper regarding the transition, but that Jordan would accede to working out a notice with Jasper while spending his off days in South Pittsburg to begin that transition.

Vice Mayor Paul Don King acknowledged during discussion of the motion that he hoped that the chief would be supported and trusted to do the job. “I’ve been here almost three years and we’ve been through four police chiefs since I’ve been here. I don’t know if I’m the problem or we’re the problem. We need a chief that is going to come in here and run the department and I don’t know this guy personally, but we need to let him do it,” King continued, “And the five of us…need to sit back and let this guy do his job.” Mayor Virgil Holder agreed. “We should be interfering.” King went on to say, “I get calls asking ‘Why did the police do this?’ or ‘Why did the police do that?’…I say you need to ask someone other than me. But this guy right here needs to come in and run the show and we need to get back out of his way because we’ve got bigger problems we need to be addressing. So let’s see if we can’t get going in a different direction.” King went further saying, “I don’t think we’re better than we were two years ago when I came on here. The police department is low…we’re just in worse shape than we were two or three years ago and it falls back to the five of us.”