Mayor Hall says no new details on Chief King disciplinary action until next month
There are still a lot of unanswered questions as to why Alexandria's Police Chief was put on administrative leave. Mayor Jeff Hall made the disciplinary action against Chief Jerrod King nearly two weeks ago on January 3. However, on Monday, KALB asked the mayor about that issue along with other questions involving the city.
Mayor Hall held his monthly “State of the Community” address at Alexandria Fire Station No. 5. Mayor Hall reiterated his message since he put Alexandria Police Chief Jerrod King on administrative leave back on January 3. Still, the administration has not said why Chief King is on leave.
"I will reiterate, this is a personnel matter. It is our policy not to discuss personnel matters publicly until our internal processes for reviewing such matters have been completed," said Mayor Hall. "A determination has been made about whether further action if any needs to be made if necessary. That process could take up to a month to complete."
However, multiple sources tell KALB that King was put on leave because he allegedly violated the city's social media policy. Also, KALB discovered a Facebook live video that shows a local radio host on KTTP, Tony Brown, bringing up the issue of King being put on administrative leave, citing the social media policy.
The video was pulled by Brown after KALB published the story. But here's the transcript:
Brown - “I don't think there should be anybody that was on Jacques Roy's administration in your administration. Now, I can understand a year or two years to filter them out and get your people in, and to me that includes the chief. You deserve the right to pick your own chief. Let me take this off the mic. You and I will talk later. Normally I don’t have a problem letting anyone know what I say.”
Mayor Hall - “I think you're doing it the right way.”
Brown - “Bottom line, it just wasn't right. It's a policy and a procedure.”
Mayor Hall - “We are in a position as we communicate to people. We don't want people going the wrong direction with the wrong emotion. We want a foundation that is solid as a public communicator as a public official that I am. We have to be careful because folks interpret things that we do and say in many different ways."
Brown - "If you got people going half-cocked on social media..."
Mayor Hall - "Exactly."
Brown - "All municipalities from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to Lake Charles have established social media policies."
Mayor Hall - "Right."
Brown - "If you are an employee, state employee, city employee, bottom line there is a policy that you have to adhere to, but if you are on your personal page..."
Mayor Hall - "Right."
During the mayor’s State of the Community Address, KALB’s Steven Maxwell asked him about that Facebook Live conversation.
Steven - "In a conversation with a local radio host you indicated King was put on leave because of the city's social media policy. Can you confirm or deny that?"
Mayor Hall - "That's not what I said, that's what the host may have said, but I made no comment at all about that situation."
Steven - "So you can't confirm it had anything to do at all about the social media policy?"
Mayor Hall - "Like I said, there's a policy that we have and rather than discuss that I think we need to wait until the investigation is complete, and I’ll discuss it fully at that time."
We have reached out to Chief King, but all calls have not been returned.
Another controversy involving the Alexandria Police Department is the city's officer shortage. At last week's city council meeting, officers raised awareness on the issue holding up signs in front of councilmen pointing out the officer shortage. The union that represents the police department said the department is now 29 officers short. In previous interviews, King and Hall both said compensation was the main reason for the exodus of officers. The mayor on Monday said they expect a number of new officers after police academy later this month.
"That will help without a doubt, and we will continue to look at pay levels and other items to ensure we are competitive to attract new and retain the best officers," said Mayor Hall.