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City's chase of Officer Jack needs to end

By Staff
Sept. 14, 2003
There's another kind of police chase going on in Meridian and it's time for it to stop. The city of Meridian is taking Officer Rita Jack back to court on the issue of back pay. Jack was a senior patrol officer at the Meridian Police Department when she was fired in September 2001 amid allegations that she and a civilian accomplice stole money and checks from the police station's front desk. The allegations never resulted in Jack's arrest, the Meridian Civil Service Commission ruled in her favor, a grand jury refused to indict her and the state auditor declined to pursue any civil recovery demand against her.
Circuit Judge Robert Bailey ordered MPD to reinstate her with full back pay for the past two years. Let's recap:
No charges.
The CSC ordered Jack's reinstatement and directed the city to award her back pay retroactive to her termination date, Sept. 14, 2001.
City officials refused to reinstate her preferring instead to appeal the CSC's decision to Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
Bailey affirmed the CSC's ruling.
City officials comply with part of Bailey's order Officer Jack is back on the job; however, the city took issue with the decision to award her full back pay. The city wants to deduct any income Jack earned, or reasonably should have earned, during the time she was terminated.
What a joke.
The city of Meridian should immediately comply fully with the court order. More than two years of pursuit is enough and, in the absence of prosecution, this case is coming perilously close to persecution.