Civil Service Board upholds firing of ousted Denham Springs police chief

Civil Service Board upholds firing of ousted Denham Springs police chief

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - After nearly five hours of testimony and another hour of deliberations, the Civil Service Board voted unanimously to uphold the firing of former Denham Springs Police Chief Scott Jones.

Following the vote, there were no words as the former chief and his family left the courtroom disappointed for the second time in less than two months.

Both attorneys for the hearing said they were not surprised by the board's decision after the four-day appeal hearing, in which the city had to bear the burden of proof.

On the first night of the hearing, CSB Chair Jennifer Barclay said the responsibility weighed heavily on the board.

Jones and his second-in-command, former Captain Steve Kistler, were fired in April over the department's handling of a domestic violence case involving City Councilman Chris Davis.

Davis, 40, was arrested and booked on February 11 after he was accused of domestic abuse that happened on January 15. He was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail. He posted a $1,500 bond and was released.

However, Davis was not arrested the night of the incident. Rather, he was issued a citation, which led some to question whether this was a violation of protocol.

That question led to an internal affairs investigation into Jones and KistlerIn the report that followed, the investigation found Jones failed to follow a direct order from the mayor telling him to follow the letter of the law.

Davis and his wife have since said the incident was an accident.

Three people took the stand on the fourth night of the hearing, including Jones. Most of the questioning for Jones centered around his involvement with the domestic violence case against City Councilman Chris Davis.

Kistler also took the stand last night and was also questioned about his involvement in the Davis case, including why the department chose to issue a summons for Davis rather than make an arrest back in January.

Kistler and city attorney Stephanie Hulett spent close to an hour going back and forth over testimony that has seemingly changed since the internal investigation into the handling of the case was first launched.

There were a handful of instances where Barclay had to step in to calm the line of questioning, specifically about a private meeting Kistler was called to back in January after questions were raised about how the domestic violence case was handled.

Kistler's appeal hearing, which was expected to be held in June, was moved back and set to start on August 1.

The fight to get Jones' job back is not over following Wednesday night's decision. His attorney said they plan to file an appeal with the 21st Judicial District Court.

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