Council to consider expressing ‘no confidence’ in police chief


A proposed resolution that would express “no confidence” in Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones and urge the mayor to replace her will be considered Monday by the Pine Bluff City Council.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at the civic complex. The Ways and Means and Ordinances and Resolutions committees meet at 5 p.m.

The proposal is sponsored by Alderman Thelma Walker and Alderman Wayne Easterly***. Reasons listed in the proposed legislation are:

• Unrest, dissatisfaction and disgruntlement with the current leadership from other employees within the department;

• The dissatisfaction has resulted in turnover and resignations among the officers;

• The city cannot afford to lose experienced and qualified officers, increasing the potential threat to the public;

• An appearance that the chief practices favoritism and decision-making and the imposition of discipline and has intervened in matters in favor of a friend;

• And the turmoil is damaging the public’s confidence in the police force and the city’s image.

“A change of leadership in the police department is needed to begin a process of renewal in the department to help it accomplish its missions of crime prevention and the apprehension of offenders and to restore public confidence in its leadership,” the proposed resolution states.

Resolutions are not binding. Even if the council approves the proposed resolution, Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. may choose not to follow its directives.

If approved by the council, the resolution would be the second no-confidence vote for Davis-Jones in two months.

On March 5, a state representative from the Police Benevolent Association attended the council meeting to inform the public and the council that the organization’s Pine Bluff chapter took a no-confidence vote on Feb. 23 in Davis-Jones’ ability to lead the department.

Eighty-six Pine Bluff Police Department officers are members of the PBA South Central Chapter. There are 151 uniformed employees total with the police department. State President Scott Hicks said he did not know how many members participated in the vote.

“The chapter made the decision to take this vote due to Chief Davis-Jones’ inconsistent disciplinary practices and inability to follow department procedure consistently,” Hicks said on March 5, reading from an official statement. “The PBA’s lack of confidence is with Chief Davis-Jones and her lack of leadership within the department. The chief on multiple occasions has shown that she does not enforce discipline equally or consistently. The lack of disciplinary consistency has become a huge barrier within the department.”

Redus said of the PBA vote that it was “just an opinion being stated.”

Redus hired Davis-Jones in June 2010.

“I truly still have full confidence in the chief and continue to expect her to carry on with the good job she’s been doing for the city,” Redus said.

There are also two proposed ordinances on Monday’s agenda that would bring back some form of citizen-led panel to hear disciplinary appeals from uniformed personnel.

The Civil Service Commission was disbanded in 2011 as part of a lawsuit settlement. The council originally voted to disband it in 2007, but a court order had prevented it from disbanding until the lawsuit’s conclusion.

Since then, disciplinary actions, promotions, hiring and firing have been shifted to the police and fire chiefs. A city-employee-led review panel was established to hear appeals of their decisions.

Since then, one of Davis-Jones’ firings has been overturned by the city council. Another was overturned by the review panel. One of her disciplinary decisions was upheld, while another was reduced.

Contacted by phone Thursday evening, Davis-Jones had no comment.

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***This article has been corrected from its original version, which did not name both sponsors of the proposed resolution. To view the correction, click here.