And folks in these statements is some new information regarding the criminal investigations into the operations of the Bay St Louis PD. First up from Outgoing Council President Falgout:
Recently your City Council has been researching and evaluating operations of City Departments for cost cutting measures and better services.
Please allow me to enter my thoughts, opinion plus some information as your Councilman. PLEASE NOTE that as Council President there is INFORMATION I CANNOT share. So please give me a little leeway.
1. Who, When, Why, Where, and How did this $320,000 DOJ money go missing? This deficit dates back to 2011. It is not the City’s money. It belongs to the men and women of Bay St Louis PD who put their life on the line EVERYDAY! It was NOT disclosed to ANY Council memmber until Mike Farve, Joey Boudin. and myself was called to a private meeting by Chief Mike Denardo after hours to disclose his notes and findings. We then called for a review and investigation.
2. Since Mike Denardo’s suicide, there has been continuing investigations by NUMEROUS Federal, State and Local enforcement agencies. They are all still active as of this email.
a. BSL expended approx. $4,000 immediately to “secure evidence” by building a secure “evidence room” under the guidance of Sheriff’s Office and the MBI because of “lack of controls” over evidence.
b. City Attorney, Mike Favre, Mayor and myself, with Detectives, were made aware with evidence the day BEFORE Mike Denardo’s death of criminal allegations. Detectives requested evidence and a complete Police Department inventory of weapons directly of Mayor Fillingame. IT was not then available. We had to wait about one hour until one was brought to us to cross reference evidence. Very concerning to the Detectives and us since State law plus Police protocol requires it to be update to date and immediately available.
3. Info presented at that meeting of “gun pawning.”
4. Info also given regarding “payroll time sheets” from the police department that were delivered to the Administration to pay payroll.
5. Notes and other information was intentionally “left behind” by Mike Denardo for the detectives conducting the investigation.
6. I have personally met with face to face and by other means with some BSL officers, at their request, about numerous concerns they have now and still have.
7. There are current Police brutality cases.
8. Officer accused in one of the above cases has an attorney and is contemplating legal action against BSL.
Other info being “looked at” and or being investigated that I’m not allowed to state.
The above is information of facts, not assumptions, scare tactics or political rhetoric but based on info from meetings that I attended as Council President and or Vice-President over the last approximately 14 months.
Clearing up of misinformation that’s being talked about or being “spread” erronously:
1. BSL PD is not being abolished, eliminated or “taken over” and being brought “down to Sheriff’s Office.”
a. You will not notice any changes in uniforms, cars, building, where you call for a car (228-255-9191), 911 and or picking up copies.
b. Court will still be held at Council Chambers. Fines will still be collected and kept by BSL.
c. BSL Police Cars will always be in BSL patroling unless a tragedy must bring us all together.
d. The lower pay adjustment from BSL to Hancock County will be supplemented by a stipend to each officer presently employed by BSL and retained by Sheriff’s Office. Health insurance, pension, etc. will not be lost but absorbed thru Hancock County’s payroll system.
e. BSL Police Officers, Detectives and HIDTA Drug agents will have more cooperation, guidance, training and technology presently used by Sheriff’s Office and City of Diamondhead which is under Contract presently with Sheriff’s Office.
d. We have in the past experienced “patrol shortages” in Ward 6 as some of you have notated to me and was verified by me. This proposed contract will allow Sheriff’s Office to move cars in to assist BSL cars that may be tied up in other matters. This includes their Detective Division assisting us.
2. The reductions you’re hearing about will come from streamlining administrative staff with Sheriff’s Office administrative staff, staffing patrols as needed per areas and cutting overhead.
3. I assure each and everyone of you that I and this Council will never reduce “boots on the ground” or sacrifice public safety to save a nickel! We will and can add to staff as warranted by needs. The Council, Mayor and public will be briefed by Sheriff major on concerns that he may have go forward and he will listen and take our input on public safety matters in Bay St Louis.
4. Officers will still be able to receive and be compensation for off-duty activities.
5. BSL will have a Sheriff appointed Captain that will serve as required as BSL Police Chief.
6. BSL will be under the direction of our elected Sheriff Ricky Adam, Under Sheriff Don Bass and with cooperation of his entire staff as we may require.
7. We WILL NOT be billed any more than our monthly Contract when Sheriff’s Office “assist’s us” with “additional enforcement help” per our current interlocal mutual assistance agreements.
Finally I’d like to thank Sheriff Adam for being there for us in a very tragic time when we needed him.
We have borrowed around $200,000 already this year from the replenished reserve fund plus the $300,000+ for the DOJ fund. We are now unable to hire the personnel that was budgeted in the Police & Fire Departments along with converting part time employees to full time in the Right of Way & Grass crews.
All of these departments have been cut drastically in the first 4 – 5 years of this administration & no one has voiced concerns about the safety of this city. At times only 1 fire department station was manned with only a couple of officers on duty. This is according to the Mayor’s own payroll chart that he brags on how we have fewer employees now than when he took office.
We have worked hard to get these departments back up to where they once were before this administration’s personnel cuts but we still haven’t hired the personnel that was budgeted for this year.
About the Bay PD and the Sheriff I have a couple of thoughts:
1. Same Pay, Uniforms, Cars, Equipment & MOST Importantly the SAME Officers will be on the Streets that serve our city now.
2. We are now 4-5 officers, detectives & others short as we speak. Those positions will be immediately filled by the Sheriff.
3. Under the Sheriff there will still be BSL officers that will only be assigned to BSL.
4. Only thing to change in the police department is who they answer to in the Sheriff or the Mayor.
5. Letting the Sheriff run Bay PD will save us $300,000 a year.
6. It’s a contract that can be terminated if we are not satisfied with the performance of this department under the Sheriff so we have checks & balances.
7. We had workshops and a public hearing during budget time on thoughts of increasing millage by one mill, which works out to around $10 – $12 per $100,000 value, dedicated for police and fire protection. Not a single person supported the proposed 1 mill increase.
8. The council is responsible for the budget & makes the decisions based on the information given to them.
9. It has been shown in audits that incorrect financial information has led to an unbalanced budget every year.
10. This administration has put this council and city in situation where we must change and think of ways to provide the best services for the entire city with very limited resources.