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Assistant police chief selection delayed

By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
May 8, 2002
The naming of an assistant chief for the Meridian Police Department has been delayed until sometime after June 27 when a hearing will take place to address Capt. Theresa Cutright's concerns about a written test administered to potential candidates.
The city's Civil Service Commission had been expected to certify a list of three qualified candidates at a meeting Tuesday: Capt. Betty Evans, Capt. Keith McCary and Lt. Al Brown.
Cutright is one of eight MPD officers who took the written test, but scored less than the 70 percent required to be certified as a candidate for assistant police chief.
The written test accounted for 65 percent of each officer's overall score. An oral interview counted for 25 percent; departmental seniority made up the final 10 percent.
In a general appearance notice filed April 25, Cutright questioned whether the test is obsolete to present-day law enforcement issues, and whether the situations presented are typical of Meridian.
Cutright also said she is concerned about the "unusual manner" in which the exams were scored.
In light of her concerns, commissioners voted to hold a hearing on June 27, at 5:30 p.m., at Union Station in downtown Meridian.
Commissioner John Watts told his fellow board members that he felt the certification of qualified candidates should be delayed until after Cutright had been allowed to state her objections to the test. The other commissioners agreed.
Police Chief Benny DuBose had hoped to recommend one of the three officers who passed the written test to Mayor John Robert Smith in the near future.
Cutright says she has received support in taking this action. Seven other officers also took the written test but scored less than 70 percent.
Cutright listed their names on the general appearance notice she submitted to the commission, and The Meridian Star reported in error Tuesday that they support her query to the commission. This is not necessarily true. Cutright says she cannot speak for their opinions in the matter.