James Jones Column: Hardy was dedicated Selma police officer

Published 5:33 am Friday, October 27, 2023

Jeffrey Hardy was known in Selma as a hard-working and dedicated officer for the Selma Police Department with over 15 years of service.

Hardy passed away Oct. 21. Funeral Service will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Potter’s Place Church, with arrangements handled by Randall Miller Funeral Service and Crematory.

When I arrived at The Selma Times-Journal five years ago, one of my first tasks was investigating a homicide that occurred the night before.

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It was my first crime story after spending 26 years as a Sportswriter/Sports Editor. I was shaken and stirred like a James Bond Martini (Sean Connery will always be my favorite James Bond).

Hardy was sergeant at the time and helped get me through the process. I always appreciated that.

At the Selma City Council meeting on Tuesday, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Selma City Council President Billy Young both expressed condolences for the family of Hardy, who was also a pastor.

Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn and former Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson both were saddened over Hardy’s passing.

“Hardy served the city for a long time as a officer and Detective,” Jackson said. “He investigated a lot of big cases, including murder case. Sadly, he died much too young.”

For me, the sad thing is how Hardy got treated at the end of his tenure in 2018.  Hardy, Toriano Neely, and Kendall Thomas were charged in November 2018 with knowingly falsifying, concealing or covering up material or making a false or fraudulent statement in a matter under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Steve Marshall dismissed the case a few years ago. The trio emerged victorious in Federal Court during the summer.

Attorney David Sawyer, who replaced Julian McPhillips on the case, said the officers hadn’t been paid by the city since that time and were wrongfully terminated.

Darrio Melton was Selma’s Mayor and Spencer Collier was Selma’s Police Chief at the time.

I find that situation sad that Hardy and the two officers weren’t paid over this time.

Hardy was a good officer and that’s how I will remember him.