Thursday, January 17, 2019

DPS Reversed on Trooper Firing

The Employee Appeals Committee of the State Personnel Board reinstated a State Trooper who was fired for alleged domestic violence.  DPS Commissioner Marshall Fisher complained about the decision at a Legislative hearing last week:


They were high on-duty, behaved dangerously on the shooting range or tested positive for opiates.

One threatened to kill his wife and her attorney.

The Department of Public Safety has tried to fire these officers, said Commissioner Marshall Fisher, but the officers got reinstated.

Fisher blamed the State Personnel Board, which gives some state employees protections against firing.

The board has too much discretion, he told lawmakers Wednesday....
 Speaking to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Fisher said the personnel board can be a “kangaroo court." He said officers who come back on the force then appear to be "bulletproof" from future discipline.


“They're a supervisor’s nightmare," Fisher said.
The officers under DPS include highway patrol troopers and officers in the Mississippi bureaus of investigations and narcotics. Rest of article.

MHP fired an officer for alleged domestic violence.  The key words are "alleged" because the trooper in question was never arrested nor was any actual evidence presented.  The order states a brief synopsis of the case:

Cox was employed by DPS as a Trooper assigned to Troop M. Cox was recently transferred from Troop C to Troop M by DPS related to alleged misconduct with another trooper's wife (17-015, the transfer case). While stationed in Troop M.  Cox is alleged to have had an incident with his own wife. On June 12, 2018, DPS notified Cox that charges were filed against him. In the NARRATIVE STATEMENT OF CHARGES DPS outlines three incidences that they contend justifies Cox's termination. The first (in time), occurred on December 1-3, 2010 when Cox is alleged to have assaulted his friend over an alleged affair his mend bad with Christy, Cox's wife. The allegation is that Cox arrived at Mr. xxxx's residence, he pushed his way into the home and brutally assaulted him causing substantial facial injuries. Cox denies brutally assaulting xxxx. Cox testified he did not hit xxx. He explained that xxxx's eye was injured when the two fell to the ground. xxxx was not called to testify about the events.

Second (in time), on May 31, 2017, Cox was found to have violated DPS General Order 3.03.03 and 3.03.06(c) one Group Three (Ill) violation for having an inappropriate relationship with a fellow trooper's wife. Although this is the subject of the transfer case 17-015, Cox and xxxx (formerly xxx, now Cox), both testified that this was an emotional, non-sexual affair. The tribunal heard testimony from xxxx and Cox about this incident. The tribunal also beard the testimony of xxxx's ex-husband, xxxx xxxxxx.

The third incident involves the factual basis behind a May 7. 2018 temporary restraining order obtained by Christy Cox in the Rankin County Chancery Court related to the divorce proceeding. The sworn testimony in that proceeding of Christy Cox was that Cox grabbed her throat on a few occasions, threatened to kill her, and was stalking her. It is alleged that Cox also threatened to kill her attorney. Before this tribunal, while under oath, Cox denied these allegations. Christy Cox was not called to testify and did not appear before this tribunal. Cox explained the circumstances behind Christy Cox"s testimony. DPS introduced the transcript of the temporary restraining order hearing and tho temporary restraining order dated May 7, 2018. In Rebuttal, Cox denied the allegations that he grabbed Christy's throat, threatened to till her or her attorney or that he stalked her, He testified that the two had calm conversations about the divorce proceedings and in fact attended a party together and were sitting next to each other. Cox called his cousin, who attended the party, to confirm this. Cox also introduced the agreed temporary order dated May 1S,2018 which specifically provides that the previous temporary order is dissolved. DPS introduced a polygraph examination report dated May 18, 2018 which demonstrates "deception indicated" regarding allegations that Cox harmed or threatened to harm Christy or her attorney. However, the Polygraph Examiner was not called to testify about the examination. Cox, therefore was denied an opportunity to cross-examine this individual about the testing and the results.

Troubling allegations if true.  However, the State Personnel Board said that is all these allegations were - mere allegations.  Cox was never arrested.  No criminal charges were ever filed against the trooper. The tribunal proceeded to reverse the termination of Sergeant Cox:

The tribunal finds Cox has met his burden to establish that DPS's discipline was unjustified. DPS attempts to use an incident that occurred in 20IO to demonstrate that Cox has "displayed an unacceptable and troubling pattern of behavior." The time gap from 2010 to 2018 hardly fits into a "troubling pattern." Addressing the specific allegations from the 2010 incident, it is obvious to the tribunal that Cox was upset that his friend had an affair with his wife. He did confront xxxx but this tribunal finds that Cox's testimony is believable and that he did not brutally assault xxxx DPS alleges. With respect to the 2018 incident with bis wife, this tribunal also finds that Cox has rebutted allegations that he was physically or verbally abusive towards his wife Christy, that he stalked her or that he threatened her attorney. Cox has rebutted the agency presumption and established that his termination was not justified. For these reasons, this tribW11l reverses the decision of DPS and reinstates Cox to his position as a State Trooper.

Kingfish note: DPS will probably appeal the order as it has in similar cases. 





28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marshall would make a great character on that show Mad Men. I bet he has a secretery that he calls "honey". He is not made for management in the 2010's, not that that is an insult.

Anonymous said...

So you can be fired from DPS for screwing someone's else's wife (or does it have to be a trooper's wife)? If they applied that rule FAIRLY, I can think of at least 6 folks I know at DPS who'd be out of a job. And what about the stairwell rendezvous at HQ? Both the trooper and the comptroller were married at the time, and he still has a job...

So - either troopers are too stupid to not screw each other's wives and the admin had to attach a penalty, or trooper's wives are some sort of protected class. This is both hilarious and tragic at the same time.

Anonymous said...

But they want $7million more to get more troopers... and the lap dog legislators will form it over...

Anonymous said...

Fisher's statements are pathetic and he does a poor job of concealing his true intentions to purge the agency of people who have even the most minor of disagreements with him. And when he says the Mississippi DPS has a code, he must be referring to the redneck omerta that includes protecting troopers who:

- use steroids,
- sleep with each others' wives (its like a damn key party in that building),
- let truckers screw them at weigh stations,
- sleep with informants (because its OK if everyone is doing it),
- steal seized money,
- use DPS vehicles for personal use, wreck said vehicle, and then convince a trooper to create a false crash report,
- throw temper tantrums, destroy state property and then sign an affidavit stating it was stolen,
- approve obviously fraudulent travel vouchers for subordinates they are sleeping with,
- negligently discharge firearms in their office and then threaten their staff not to say anything

Y'all get the drift right...some "code." Believe me, the Mississippi Highway Patrol is the laughingstock of state police/highway patrol agencies - we may be nice to your face at conventions, and there's no doubt we've got your back if you need help or are in trouble...but we're laughing at you as you walk away.

Signed,

Every Other Highway Patrol in the United States

Anonymous said...

Someone should do something about that asshole. He is doing his very best to shut down MHP. What the asshole isn’t saying is the cases were overturned for a REASON! Because DPS’ side of the story was bullshit and trumped up to fit their agenda, which is firing troopers that the admin don’t like. This is the exact reason the State Personnel Employee Appeals Board is in place. It keeps assholes like Fisher from firing troopers or agents just because he heard they said something negative about him (also known as hurt his sweet lil feelings). Checks and balances. They’re in place for a reason. MHP fires many troopers that deserve it, but they don’t fire the ones that actually deserved it omg with being put in prison. They cover that up, because the whole place is corrupt as hell and it starts with that asshole, along with that Colonel who has never tested for a promotion, but yet has climbed the ladder because he’s kissed the right ass on the right day....everyday. They’re so quick to throw these troopper’s dirt out there to the public, but they would leave the state if someone told the truth about the bs that they have pulled. This asshole shouldn’t be allowed to have that much power. What the hell are you doing, Governor?!?!? Wake up and get this guy out of there before he does MHP in for good. And they wonder why the public thinks that DPS is joke!! They keep pulling the same crap with their employees and it keeps getting out! I would imagine being in law enforcement is hard enough as it is. Officers certainly don’t need their “boss” publicly putting them down in the media. He’s more or less saying, “hey general public, don’t trust law enforcement, in fact, take a stand against them! They’re a buncha no count idiots!” I wonder if Phil Bryant has ever thought that maybe if he would appoint competent leaders then maybe he would have competent troopers.

Anonymous said...

8:02 does someone keep getting prosecuted for something they made a mistake in over 15-20 years ago that in fact was a very common thing they were taught was ok? Does it make it right of course not...but at what point do you see people change...at the end of the day it was mistreatment if one is allowed to do anything and the other not...which happens every single day with DPS...it’s politics...and as much knowledge you spit out your from DPS not another state. Your statements are factual, however, do you see the good in anyone? Are you, your family and kids perfect? At some point let a situation that was 15-20 years ago...go. Does it have to be one of your immediate family members he saves before you can forgive in your heart? This man deserves so much more than being brought up in every single troopers disciplin case...most of what you said is current events except that one. Pray about it. Think about the change that has been good. Imagine it being your family. Who would you want to come get them? He’s one of the very best TAC officers, trailer, all around human DPS employees. He suffers enough with no promotion from being dislike because of that comment. Pray about it. No pun or argument intended, just food for thought. Some people make mistakes and don’t deserve to be republished year after year.

Anonymous said...

Like every other egomaniac, Fisher wants the rules to apply to everyone but him. I agree with 10:17 that the appeals board exists to provide independent due process to state employees who feel they have been treated unfairly, and to place a check and balance on state executives. I also agree to a certain extent that employees whose claims of unfair treatment are affirmed can be difficult to deal with because any subsequent disciplinary action could be construed as retaliatory. It takes real skill to lead a diverse team with honesty and integrity, and unfortunately Mississippi does not attract the best and brightest to lead its agencies.

So here's the solution - treat all of your people fairly and apply the rules consistently, no matter who it is, or who they know. Unfortunately, when you tacitly advocate for a pattern of bad decisions, it becomes the culture of the agency. Fisher, I'd have a lot more respect for you if you had the integrity to right thing, every time, no matter what the consequences were to you personally. It's called ownership, look into it!

Anonymous said...

@ 6:48am

It takes real skill to lead a diverse team with honesty and integrity, and unfortunately Mississippi does not attract the best and brightest to lead its agencies.

Then the citizens need to elect better politicians that's going to appoint competent people to these positions.

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Crybaby’s real problem is he allows a couple corrupt and incompetent attorneys run DPS and they tell him what they want him to know. He gives a blind eye to major problems such as the millions of dollars in mismanagement of federal grant money by public safety planning and MHP but will take someone’s job for speaking their mind. His time will come soon enough. Our moron governor will be gone soon enough and so will Fisher and his giant ego.

Anonymous said...

Very well said, 6:48! I’ve heard so many DPS employees say all they wanted was to be treated fairly. That’s it. Nothing more or less.

Grab That Pu*** said...

The problem here is this: Management and supervision at this state agency has never progressed beyond the mentality of the 50s. They've either never been exposed to modern Human Resources Management concepts or they are simply not expected (required) to adapt to those concepts.

The present paradigm at this agency is: Promote the brown-nosers, pinch the girls on the ass, spin them tires and smoke them wheels, hit 85 on the highway, knock off early, pad he file of any employee/trooper you don't like, fabricate a reason to terminate and agree to lie your way through a hearing.

Putting a lesbian or a good ole boy in charge has been the pattern for forty or more years, maybe forever. Nothing changes and probably never will, until we get a competent female governor.

Women make decisions with their ovaries while men are ruled by testicles. Which is better or worse I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

1:09, 8:02 here - I work for a similar agency in another state out West, I left MS DPS quite a long time ago when I began to see the direction the agency was headed and I have zero regrets.

To your point, bringing up past incidents or legal decisions is not meant to be punitive to those involved, or intended to re-litigate past cases; rather, summarizing case law and past decisions based on similar fact patterns has always informed how current disputes and legal controversies are litigated or settled.
Unfortunately - albeit predictably - previous [and current] administrations' faulty judgement is now resulting in the DPS having a harder and harder time defending itself against claims of unfair treatment because it has been willing to tolerate immoral and in some cases illegal behavior based on who was involved and not the policy or law violated.

So DPS has an embarrassing track record - who is really to blame, those who were allowed to get away with improper/illegal activity, or those who tolerated it over long periods of time? In the instant case, I blame the individual for their lack of judgment; but over time, I blame leadership for sacrificing their integrity for selfish reasons.

With all that being said, those in public service who view transparency, due process and accountability as punishment are by default poor leaders. If Fisher wants to be remembered as a transformative leader; he needs to step up, issue a mea culpa and get to work fixing DPS.

Anonymous said...

9:43 - You have it backwards. Zebras do not change stripes, especially old zebras. The answer is NOT to put an incompetent in charge and then require him to (or suggest he) change. That won't happen. The answer is to put a competent leader in charge in the first place. Has that EVER been done at MHP? I doubt it.

All of these agency head jobs (and committee and commission jobs) appointed by governors are similar in too many ways. It's real rare that any governor gets it right. In fact 'getting it right' isn't even the objective.

Anonymous said...

So true 9:43, look at Phil’s appointment of Gillard. Has never even tested for any rank. This comes off the back of late Gov. Fordice whom Gillard was assigned two years into his career. Fordice also appointed Phil to his first seat while serving in the house. It’s a circle of favors for those that will be puppets. Gillard has never done anything. Well his job those two years as a Trooper. DUI 100 club and maybe a drug seizure. Aren’t these things your job as a Trooper. Gillard stands on those two things to this date. Rank was thrown at him every since. A Col. Wow! The only agency in all of government nation wide that does not have to be on hard work and years of leadership and management of men and women that carry a gun. Leading from the front and one that knows the Rules of the Road himself. Oh I’m sorry he does know a drivers license question well maybe he doesn’t. Would love to quiz him on a few of those myself. One thing he does know is to put on a front and kiss ass to get to the top. That he has perfected. I’m retired from the Federal Gov and I can’t help but be mesmerized of how backwards, twisted, and corrupt MHP has gotten. What a shame to make leaders of once the pinnacle of law enforcement based on politics and lack of leadership and knowledge of what goes on in enforcement so he can be a puppet for the Governor and Commissioner and carry out their on personal agenda. Which is to bring it down and clean it up. I remember what was said Commissioner a few years back when you told someone what your real objective was. Shame on you and now placing it into the hands of the legislature to remove MHP from SPB. Clearly they see through you and will approach the office of Gov. Bryant and seed you packing. You have done enough damage sir.

Anonymous said...

MHP worked diligently to purge the ranks of his future leaders. Ones that will lead, not afraid to lead, and the ones that have shown them just that. There are no more two imperfect puppets as leaders as Randy and Chris. Ole Randy. Your not forgotten at all. Your hiding hoping you don’t get named. Well guess what. Come out of hiding and quit faking your intelligence now. You’ve been discovered. You are part of it too Mr. Perfect. Glad to see you left us here in Starkville and went South to smile in the faces of men and women and stab them in the back too. Get what you can from who ever you can as long as it benefits Randy. You slip around like your hiding from something. Aren’t you the only one in Jackson that promoted trough the ranks of MHP through the merit testing! Unlike Chris. Been given everything. Stand up and lead. Stop the foolishness and nonsense that exist in the office across the hall from yours. Oh Wait! It don’t benifit you now does it. So stay in your office or pretend to be caring about the men and women of MHP. Your not missed at all up here by all means stay put where you are. You fit in well with the dirty politics there.

Anonymous said...

Is sleeping with your coworker’s wife valid grounds for termination? Valid in private sector but not in public? Two troopers working in the same Troop, one sleeping with the other’s wife, their paths cross, both with glocks at the ready.... Curious of everyone’s thoughts...

Anonymous said...

Mmmm.. not sure. I’m not aware of the circumstances sorrounding this event. So it’s best I leave a comment unsaid. It appears we have jumped from infidelity and the clear Biblical terms of marriage and the vows of marriage to a what has been stated to be a shootout at the OK Corral staring Burt Lancaster. I can’t jump to those conclusions and say terminate employment at any level. Guns are readily available and possessed by many. I hope by being a Trooper doesn’t make you the only one eligible to tote a Glock. Terminate no! The state is large. Transfers have been the norm for decades. Civil issues are handled by civil people or the courts. To impose shootouts. Sometimes these acts are seen as favors. Perhaps seeking a reason to get out of marriage/relationships and no one feels mistreated. Not condoning these acts by any means. Termination by saying your wrong and your not perfect so goodbye. So by misquoting and perhaps suggested the other parties involved go from adultery to Glocks at the ready is a little much in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I was thinking 10:34. Not just a little much but a lot much.

Anonymous said...

I find this interesting that MHP did all of this to this trooper considering this trooper is white while a black trooper who was actually arrested for domestic violence never even warranted a second look. It is well known within the ranks of MHP that a black trooper out of Greenwood district was arrested by a city police department for domestic violence just a year or so ago. The district captain (also black) ordered a supervisor to go to the jail and get said trooper out and take him home. Amazingly this same captain has a closed door meeting with the alleged victim the following day and the next thing you know...charges are miraculously dropped against the trooper. No internal affairs investigation, no difficult questions from bosses, no media attention, nothing. So when did it become ok for MHP brass to coerce a victim into dropping charges when it was evident to the arresting officer that some type of violence occurred which warranted an arrest? Then they do THIS to this trooper and fire him basically illegally? Looks like this agency needs a house cleaning. The tax payers deserve better!

Anonymous said...

I personally know this Trooper. One of the best Troopers there has ever been and a great guy.

Anonymous said...

One more fact. The secretary of that district was ordered to go get the female victim and coach her down from her story of the abuse. More facts are out there as well. Let’s see if DPS disputes this if so. More will come out. Nothing dispels what “they” (administers) say more than recordings, both audio and video, and eye witnesses. MHP IS KNOWN FOR DOUBLE STANDARDS!

Anonymous said...

That is 100% correct @ 2:33. There’s a double standard at MHP. If a black Trooper does something against policy, it’s overlooked; however if a white Trooper violates a policy they throw the book at them. As a matter of fact, 4 whites were just fired and 1 white forced to retire all within 90 days of each other. And as of a month or so ago, 6 blacks were promoted. Not to mention during the last patrol academy, Lieutenant Phillip Coffey told another black training officer to “lay off the blacks and start running off some of these white motherf*%#ers.” It was reported by that training officer, but of course nothing at all was or will be done about it. “Justice” is swiftly served to white troopers who mostly don’t deserve it and end up getting their jobs back and the black troopers continue to get away with murder. If a trooper of any color does something worth legitimately being fired for, then fire them, regardless of color. It’s amazing how the administration goes out of its way to protect one certain race. That includes promotions, overlooking bad behavior and even criminal activity. One of the black troopers promoted this last time was promoted to Captain over a district. This same trooper has been caught at a hotel room on duty with a woman he who wasn’t his wife, with his patrol car parked in the parking lot in broad daylight. Another trooper was promoted to Captain over a separate division who had been fired for steeling a generator during Hurricane Katrina and then later rehired for some strange reason. DPS is broken. No leadership, no direction and no discipline. Clean that damn place out!!!

Anonymous said...

It almost seems untrue. Sad part is that it is true. Nothing more dirty and rotten as MHP. Keep bringing in Commissioners from outside MHP and Colonels that have done absolutely nothing and owes favors to political heads you will continue on the downward spiral in which your in now. The power of those offices have allowed you to be corrupt as you are. I get sick thinking about my tax dollars being used to aid such a dis functional agency. If this continues I’m sure thousands of MISSISSIPPIANS will protest that you non-leaders fueled by power and full of corruption leave your position. We deserve better who ever you are step down

Anonymous said...

I do not think it’s so much a black or white thing as much as it is a butt kissing yes man be a robot kind of thing. God forbid you take a stand against them for what is right or wrong. They fired one of the most honest law men and one of the best Captains the patrol has ever had for speaking his mind on what he thought was right or wrong. Gillard likes to say he is a Godly man. He is a coward. Ginn too. Fisher is corrupt as they come and he knows the corruption he has done is about to come down on him. This administration is a joke. Morale has never been so low on the patrol. Everyone is too sacred to come out and say it because of the retaliation that will come down on them. . They have incompetent lawyers chomping at the bit to bring charges on Troopers. It’s all going to come out. Wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Does the Governor know how this agency is ran! If not he should. If he misses this it will be plastered in main steam media outlets for these ppl to answer and or defend. I’m a hard working Ms residence. This explains State Police

Anonymous said...

Yes 7:54. The governor knows exactly how this agency is being ran. He’s the one allowing it to happen. It’s a shame that DPS has been allowed to get away with the corruption in the administration. This administration will do whatever it takes to keep the real truth silenced. Not necessarily talking about the story posted above, just the way DPS is ran from the top down. Wrongfully firing innocent troopers for fear that the truth be told. If the public only knew half of what goes on, the people in Mississippi would be ashamed that we’ve elected officials to run a state full of corruption. Way to go Bryant!!!! Way to appoint corruption and keep it going!!!! You should be really proud. The truth will come out!!!

Anonymous said...

The recent firing of certain Troopers is ridiculous. I am all for a Trooper being fired if he/she has done something that is against the law. Example...falsifying documents, lying under oath, soliciting sexual favors to violators in return for letting them go, stealing (money or anything else) and so on. These Troopers were fired for standing up against the administration. Their records as Troopers is impeccable. The administration picks and chooses who they want to punish for what they see as wrong (which is going against their agenda). To hell with policy. What’s the point of policy when not everyone is treated the same way. There are so many good leaders on the patrol. But majority of those good leaders are overlooked because they will not go with the administrations agenda. They are not robots. This administration has done nothing good for the citizens of Mississippi. Nothing good for the men and women of DPS. I hope whoever the newly elected governor is cleans house all the way across the top. You have Troopers that would give their life for a complete stranger, Troopers who deserve to work in an environment that is not hostile. I could throw so many under the bus for things they have done, only to get promoted because they are the administrations robots. Not rumors of things that might of happened. Things that happened.

Anonymous said...

Forthcoming facts from 01/21 post. Witnesses are ready to talk and agency can’t provide why nothing happened to the Trooper. Double standards minor compared to what has occurred in this case and one more that hasn’t been mentioned in our area.

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