Monday, April 23, 2018

DPS: Backstabbing the Blue

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety failed yet again in its attempt to purge a sissified trooper from the ranks of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.  The Mississippi Employee Appeals Board ordered DPS to reinstate with back pay Sergeant James Richards.  DPS fired Sgt. Richards for the unlawful use of controlled substances even though he was recovering from hip replacement surgery and had prescriptions for the drugs he used.

Sergeant Richards has been a trooper since 2000.  He suffered through a major hip replacement surgery in 2015 and was given several legal prescriptions.  The medications were opioids, a benzo, and a schedule II.  The Sergeant attended training and weapons qualification on October 31, 2016.  He "successfully qualified" with three different firearms.  However, DPS officials claimed he was acting sluggish and were "suspicious" he was "under the influence."

DPS made him submit to a drug test.  Sergeant Richards tested positive for all of his prescribed medications.  He did not test positive for any substance for which there was not a prescription.

However, DPS threw out his medical record and charged him with reporting to work when his ability was impaired by the "unlawful use of controlled substances."  The agency fired him on February 3, 2017 for

Reporting to work under the influence of, or when ability is impaired by, alcohol or the unlawful use of controlled substances. (Group Three Offense).
Sergeant Richards appealed to the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board.  A tribunal held a hearing and ruled in his favor.   The tribunal minced no words in blasting DPS for its unlawful treatment of James Richards  as it said no less than four times that the Mississippi Department of Public Safety like to the Board and Sergeant Richards:

The basis for Richard's termination was untrue.  All of the evidence  resented  at  the hearing, including that offered by MDPS, illustrates that Richards had a valid prescription  for all of the substances in  his  system. The issue succinctly stated is whether Richards'  use of prescription medication may  constitute an "unlawful use  of controlled substances. Clearly it did not at  this  particular  time. MDPS  produced no evidence demonstrating  that Richards   had unlawfully  used the controlled substances he was  legally prescribed  during  his in-service  training......
 the basis for the termination is untrue and must be reversed by this tribunal.  While Richards may have been impaired by his legal use of controlled substances, evidence presented at the hearing demonstrated that he successfully completed the training. Earlier post with copy of order.
However,  the Fifth Floor Fops at DPS pursued their vendetta against Sergeant Richards and asked the Appeals Board to hear the case en banc.  Police are at times accused of thinking they are above the law.  Make no mistake, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety doesn't think it is above the law but thinks it can create the law out of thin air.

DPS asked the Board to ignore the  part about "unlawful use of controlled substances":

However, the MOPS requests that this tribunal, and Hearing Officer Pierce, overlook the phrase "unlawful use" in the charges it brought against Mr. Richards.  The MEAB, en bane, declines to do so....
The MDPS-now, but not at the time of Mr. Richards' pre-disciplinary stage or in Mr. Richards' tennination letter -  contends that Mr. Richards used a lawful controlled substance, but used it in such a manner that resulted him being under the influence at the time he was participating in his in-service training.  The MOPS' argument to the MEAB, en bane, is that any error in its termination letter to Mr. Richards was "technical," was "clearly harmless error" and  that Mr. Richards has only suffered a procedural due process violation.
Thus, DPS makes a false accusation against Sergeant Richards but calls it "harmless error."  Harmless unless you are the one getting fired because of the false accusation.

The Board politely but firmly faceplanted DPS's arguments into the cold pavement of reality and ordered DPS to reinstate Jim Richards with full back pay and benefits.

Kingfish note: Simply pathetic.   The Appeals Board catches DPS repeatedly lying as it persecuted a veteran trooper who committed the cardinal sin of having hip replacement surgery.  Colonel Hackworth had a perfect term for these officials: REMF's.  Unfortunately for Sergeant Richards, DPS will probably torment this poor schmuck even more by appealing to Chancery Court and dragging him through the courts.

As stated in an earlier post, One shouldn't be too surprised that Marshall Fisher's DPS took this action.  The termination took place at the very end of Santa Cruz's tenure as Commissioner.  However, Marshall Fisher is perfectly capable of stopping this jihad against Sergeant Richards.  Of course, Commissioner Fisher is the guy who wants to ban drug courts for drug dealers and jail doctors for at least 40 years if they write an opioid prescription that results in an overdose. Good luck to the poor trooper who must get an opioid prescription under the Commissioner's regime.  The video posted below of the Commissioner's MBN Director makes it quite clear what these REMF's thinks of troopers who get hurt.

Don't expect any coverage by the media.  This article shows the tough coverage provided by the state newspaper of DPS or whitewash jobs such as this one.  


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does anyone else think its crazy that the agency was conducting their own drug test via the crime lab?

Due to the proximity of staff, health laws, privacy, etc etc - any and all drug testing of staff should have been conducted by an independent/autonomous service in the first place.

Anonymous said...

WHAT the heck has John dowdy ever done?

Anonymous said...

What's the point in referring to the officer as 'sissified'?

Unknown said...


Just watch the video.

Direct quote from speaker.

Anonymous said...

4:25 PM That is what I was wondering.

Anonymous said...

"What's the point in referring to the officer as 'sissified'?"

Some idiot from the state said people recovering from major surgery were "sissies" if they needed opioids to deal with post-op pain. KF was mocking the idiot bureaucrat, not the cop/patient.

Anonymous said...

Was it Phil Bryant that appointed him? He should fire him.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for shining a light on this. The "crime" reporter at the CL is nothing more than a YES (wo)man for the same ole same ole folks who have always been in charge. Too many people are afraid to call out law enforcement when they mess up for fear of being labeled anti-law enforcement. In reality, there are a lot of us who are are very much pro-law enforcement and appreciate them protecting us from violent people, but also want to hold them to a high standard and ensure their focus is protecting us from violent people, not wasting taxpayer dollars chasing tail and cash.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes these personnel boards are nothing more than bureaucratic BS, but it looks like this time they saved a poor guy who may have simply been having a tough day.

Special thanks to all of the folks at MHP. Yes, they f--k up every now and then, but I think its a superb group of LEO's.

Anonymous said...

Dowdy’s comments reflect his very low IQ. He should resign or be fired. His comments are disrespectful and disgraceful.

Perkn said...

For all us dumbasses, what does en bane or en banc mean?

Anonymous said...

Typical MHP Admin crap! If they would spend more time concentrating on how to take care of their men better, instead of using their time to screw them, we would never hear hardly anything negative about MHP. Not the case though! And to think they hardly pay them anything compared to some of the surrounding states and still harp on their asses every time they sneeze the wrong way. Every single one of my trooper buddies bitch about how terrible it is there these days. I haven’t met one yet that has anything to say positive about Chris Gillard, their chief. Most of them say they’re counting the days until he’s gone! And I won’t get into the rest of the trash they say about him. Maybe after he goes they’ll get someone in there that gives a damn about their men instead of everything else first. During my days in the military, when a commander lost respect of the men, he was removed from his leadership position. Sounds as if the first part of that has happened. I wonder how long until Phil Bryant does the right thing by the men and removes him from doing more harm to MHP

Anonymous said...

@4:15 Dowdy just passes around the offering plate like others do at DPS

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the reason it's not in the news media is that it is really a personnel issue. Civil Service boards reinstate employees all the time and it's not in the news.

Anonymous said...

10:12, many people agree, but the Gov and his crew have gone "all in" appealing to the Trumpian base.

Its a shame...there is bipartisan support for common sense solutions to the opioid crisis at the federal and state level...and then you have this moron making comments about sissies.

Anonymous said...

So its okay for a trooper to be under the influence of narcotics.

Anonymous said...


“En bane” is a typo. “En banc” means the full court or, in this case, the full panel of the Appeals Board. The initial appeal was likely heard by a trio of members and not the full panel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

@10:15 En banc means "in bench," which is when all the judges of a specific court will hear the case.

Anonymous said...

10:15, An en banc session is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court (before the entire bench) rather than by a panel selected from them. En banc review is often used for unusually complex cases or cases considered to be of greater importance.

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous!
The only reason I can imagine as to why our Governor has not fired our Highway Patrol Commissioner is either that the Commissioner has something on our Governor or that they both suffer from dementia!

Kingfish said...

You expect the Governor to fire his hunting buddy?

Anonymous said...

So if hip surgery was in 2015 (we do not know when during the year) and the shooting qualifying was in October 2016, why is the officer still on opioids at LEAST 10 mos after surgery?

Anonymous said...

Where is T B Birdsong when you need him..dead oh. MHP troopers all seem constipated, perhaps the admin is why. This guy is getting a bad deal deserves better. Dumb management.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the trooper was taking medication is not the issue at hand here. The problem is that hatchets atop the DPS pyramid that all seem to be lawyers and not lawmen. Fisher has checked out and given power to the lawyers. I've heard his "back when I was a DEA Agent, in another life" speech many times but he has forgotten that "Cops" just like everyone else make mistakes. You cannot let people who have never gotten mud on their boots police the troops to the standards they learned sitting in law classes. I think Marshall Fisher was a great choice for a little while but he may have worn out his welcome with the guys in the trenches, its not about making a difference anymore its about POWER. The gaggle of attorneys that work in the varies DPS divisions need to realize they are not going to be the next Commissioner of anything, I realize they think they can be the next Pelicia Hall but that's not happening. DPS was once a great place to work and will be again, its sort of like the weather in Mississippi just hang on the leadership will change and it will get better, I just hope all of the good folks don't leave before the sun comes out again.

Anonymous said...

10:05 - Why a patient is on opioids or for how long is none of your damned business. Don't you get that yet? That's between the patient and the doctor and the FMLA paperwork rules. FMLA is a federal employment law with certain defined rights granted to an employee and an employer and when some goobers at the local level fuck with it, they're going to get burned.

Go crack open another long-neck.

Anonymous said...

They need to fire one that has spent the last twenty years riding around looking for women to have sex with in order to get out of a ticket. Right up in northeast Mississippi. Been complained on for twenty years and the punishment is he sometimes gets sent to another district for awhile where he pursues women over there. Little Napolean complex. When he finally retires he will meet his waterloo. MHP hasn't changed. They are just getting caught up with.

Kingfish said...

Notice DPS won't fire a trooper (Redfruit) caught having sex on the job yet will turn Ahab on a trooper recovering from major surgery.

Anonymous said...

The treatment of the trooper was crap, and the ruling to reinstate was appropriate. But KF, you and the other comment above are completely wrong to think that this is "recovering from major surgery" meds.

There is no good basis for being on opiods for ten or more months after a hip operation, other than addiction or unwillingness to deal with it. If this guy really requires opiods for that period of time to deal with pain, he doesn't need to be wearing a badge and toting a firearm.

True that there are a lot of different facets to the so called "opiod epidemic" issue, but there are some basic facts as well. Normal treatment for major surgery such as described for this guy could require a script renewal beyond the original 21 or so days - but with this being at least 10 months, and probably many more, the issue is not simple "recovery". And to try to defend him under such a story is pure hokey.

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