Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MHP stonewalls.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol admitted it is investigating whether troopers filed bogus tickets to earn additional pay from a federal DUI enforcement grant.  JJ reported Monday that five troopers are under investigation for writing phony DUI tickets.  However, MHP refused to provide any notices from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that stated whether the grant was terminated.

JJ submitted a public records request to the Mississippi Highway Patrol for any correspondence in 2016 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerning the DUI enforcement grants last Friday.   MHP gave its answer yesterday:

For the past two months, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has been conducting an internal investigation into paperwork filed in a federally-funded initiative targeting impaired motorists. This is an on-going investigation. As such, pursuant to exemptions in the Mississippi Public Records Act, we cannot release information regarding this investigation at this time. Therefore, your request is denied at this time.

One does not expect the agency to hand over actual investigative records while the investigation is in progress.  However, suppose NHTSA notified MHP that it was cutting off the grant or was seeking reimbursement.  Surely such notices are not covered by the investigative exemption, are they?   MHP says such notices are:

 The documents you are requesting are part of the investigation and are exempt from the Open Records Act.

One of the troopers accused of submitting the phony tickets is none other than Master Sergeant Field Marshall Pack.  Pack has a rather colorful history at the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.  He was fired twice while at MHP.  He was fired in 1995 for having sex with a confidential informant BUT he was reinstated because other officers who liked to have sex on the job were not fired.  He was fired again in 2001 for um, "seizing cash from a potential target without accounting for the seizure", participating in sexually explicit behavior during a vacation in Florida, and not reporting drug activity while on said vacation.  However, he appealed his dismissal and won reinstatement and back pay.

It is not known if the other troopers like to read Horton Hears a Who or if they like to visit Houston. 

Kingfish note: Sources say NHTSA has terminated the grant and is seeking reimbursement.  Such information should not be withheld from the taxpayers with a bogus excuse that such notices are part of an "investigation".  This is not the first time MHP has gotten in trouble with NHTSA for misusing the DUI-enforcement grant.  Earlier post with copy of IG report. The number thrown around is $9 million.  However, that is completely unconfirmed. The purpose of public records request at times is to confirm such rumors.  However, it appears MHP has no interest in letting the public and its leaders know whether Mississippi will have to repay millions of dollars when times are tight.   

This is also a good reason why the Mississippi Supreme Court should overturn the ruling the Court of Appeals ruling in the DMR records case.  The opinion placed no limits on what records could be called "investigative".  Hell, a D.A. could seize the minutes and budget of a city council but according to the Court of Appeals, they would no longer be public records.  The Mississippi Supreme Court should reverse the Court or Appeals or at least spell out some limits for the holding. 


someoneinnorthms said...

I see what you did there!

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer I'm infuriated by this, it appears that the MHP has been covering up, and therefore encouraging criminal activity for years, the feds could probably make a RICO case if they wanted to. I mean seriously, what do you have to do to get fired from that classless shithole of an agency - what an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

You would think a Deputy Sheriff would have better oversight over a law enforcement agency.

Isn't It Time? If Not Now, When? said...

Will this agency EVER get the serious attention/action of the current governor? Or is this a page out of the Ole Miss Coach's Handbook, to wit: We are here to help people grow and, to that end, we believe in second chances. And third. And fourth. And ninth.

Anonymous said...

Geez- it's only a little bit of graft and corruption. What do you people want, honesty and integrity.

Anonymous said...

The concerned will never know the whole and the real truth!

Anonymous said...

Logo needs horses and stagecoach.

Anonymous said...

An internal investigation may exempt MHP from having to turn over those materials but it does not require them to withhold them. That is still their choice. They make the decision to not be transparent. They could choose to release those materials if they wanted to do so, even if an investigation is going on.

Anonymous said...

So the federal government is throwing around taxpayer money to pay state government to increase ticket counts written to those very taxpayers? What a racket.

Anonymous said...


The grant is a federal DUI Grant program that numerous agencies use. According to the Grant rules the officers participating must turn in DUI arrests for the time they work in order for the Grant to repay the hours worked. It is actually a good program when managed right. MHP, however, failed in that. Getting drunks off the road and in the process saving lives is the whole point of the DUI Grant program. My opinion is the Troopers involved should be stripped of any rank and terminated. If the Fed chooses to go forth with charges then so be it. Repayment for falsified time sheets should be taken from the troopers retirement upon termination.

Here's the thing... People fuss when drunk driver's wreck and hurt other people. They say that law enforcement should have stopped them before the wreck and arrested them for DUI. Then when law enforcement picks up the pace enforcing DUI arrest efforts people fuss saying that the officers are violating their rights, blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

6:39, yeah, but it doesn't appear they did anything to reduce drunk driving or reduce the number of intoxicated drivers - it was a sham and a fraud.

Anonymous said...

The grant also carries a requirement for several road-blocks per year for each participating agency. That's why you see them throwing up roadblocks in the last three weeks of the year. You see them just off 55 north exiting onto the Trace. You see them in the middle of municipalities. You see them on the east side of the Pearl River on Highway 80. Nothing more than dotting an i and crossing a t in order to get the federal reimbursement.

Anonymous said...

someone please find a Phil agency that is not engulfed in corruption and incompetence.

Anonymous said...

This is a great story but nothing compared to all the people who are about to be indicted for corruption in Hattiesburg

Anonymous said...

This grant in Mississippi is a waste of time because MHP doesn't patrol after midnight.

Anonymous said...

10:06; Nice try, but the town of Hattiesburg is a mud-puddle compared to the corrupt ocean of state agencies. You're comparing ferns to sewing machines...or something like that.

Anonymous said...

9:11. Don't think you get the intention of the post from 10:06. Your special aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Midnight? Try 10:00 P.M. If you have an accident on a highway after 10:00 more than likely a deputy sheriff will be writing your accident report.

Anonymous said...

I'm not special, 11:02. Are you? Comparing miniscule problems in Hattiesburg, MS to the cancer spread across statewide agencies is farting in a whirlwind. And it's "You're".

Anonymous said...

It gives a person a warm fuzzy feeling knowing the next time a MHP stops you it is about the same as walking down a dark street in Jackson.

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