Confidential management letter sheds more light on police department

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 23, 2007

The letter is here

By Leesha Faulkner

The Selma Times-Journal

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A management letter released confidentially to Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and members of the Selma City Council reviews issues raised during Public Safety Consultants Inc.’s recent review of the police department.

The Selma Times-Journal obtained a copy of the PSCI management letter released to the mayor and council on Dec. 7. It is published fully in this edition of the newspaper on pages A10 through A12.

The Times-Journal also requested interviews with the mayor and acting Chief of Police Jimmy Martin. The mayor offered to meet with the newspaper after Dec. 30 and acting Chief Martin made an appointment through his secretary for 9:30 a.m. Friday, but had his secretary call on Friday morning an hour before the appointment to cancel.

Council members Dr. Geraldine Allen of Ward 4, Johnnie Leashore of Ward 6, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw of Ward 7, Jannie M. Venter of Ward 8 and Council President George Evans did not return calls Friday. Council member Jean T. Martin was out of town and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Management of The Selma Times-Journal felt it appropriate that the information contained in the management letter be disseminated to the public as soon as possible as its contents could have a significant impact on the public safety of the citizens of Selma.

The letter reveals information gleaned by PSCI from interviews with various individuals, including the mayor and chief. Here are the high points:

All but one of the council members received a copy of the management letter. Council member Cecil Williamson didn’t because he refused to go into executive session with the other council members, the mayor and the board attorney when it was discussed. At the time, Williamson, who represents Ward 1, said he was unsure if the closed-door session were legal so he refused to participate.

Friday, when asked about the management letter, Williams said, &8220;What should be done is that Mayor Perkins should immediately remove Jimmy Martin as police chief and quit acting as if the Public Safety Building is not contaminated by mold, water, and who knows how many disease carrying organisms.&8221;

Council member Reid Cain of Ward 2 received a copy of the letter in closed-door session. &8220;The management letter basically reiterated the study with slightly more details,&8221; he said.

The police study was released publicly more than a week ago by Mayor Perkins on the city’s Web site. Additionally, the Times-Journal published it in total and on its Web site and in a special supplement to its print edition.

Cain said everything in the study was restated. &8220;Nothing in the management letter had anything to do with good name and character,&8221; he added, saying there was no reason the letter should be made private.