Last Modified: Saturday, May 18, 2013 9:01 PM
Although he is in prison, former Leesville Police Chief Bobby Hickman’s pay continues to accrue, his lawyer said.
Leesville fired Hickman in January 2011, although the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal nullified the termination because the city had not followed protocol.
The court said the investigation was not completed within 60 days as required by civil service laws. The appellate court cited a law that said any action taken against a police officer “without complete compliance with the foregoing minimum standards is an absolute nullity.”
“If City Officials delay complying with the Third Circuit’s Judgment, Chief Hickman will take additional legal action to ensure that the City of Leesville fully complies with the Third Circuit’s ruling, including his reinstatement as Chief of Police and his payment of full back pay and all the benefits of his employment,” Aaron Green, an attorney representing Hickman, said in an email.
“It is time for the City of Leesville to stop wasting taxpayer money and to admit it handled this entire situation inappropriately.”
Hickman is serving 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in federal court in June 2012 to having a firearm with an obliterated serial number. The guilty plea was part of a deal in which prosecutors dropped four other weapons charges.
In its ruling, the 3rd Circuit said Hickman was to be reinstated to his position with backpay and all benefits to be paid, “together with legal interest thereon.”
The city asked the appeals court for a clarification hearing, but on Wednesday the court denied a rehearing.
The city has not yet paid the former chief, but “Hickman is going to take every step necessary to make sure that happens,” Green said.
Calls to Leesville Mayor Robert Rose and city attorney Cloyd Benjamin were not returned.
Hickman was fired after city officials said he failed to cooperate with an investigation into his actions.
The investigation was opened after Leesville police Officer Charlie Lopez pleaded guilty to two drug charges after getting caught selling steroids in the Police Department parking lot. Lopez reportedly said he provided Hickman with pills in exchange for special treatment, a promotion and overtime.
Hickman had taken sick leave prior to his termination; a .357 Magnum with an obliterated serial number was found in the safe in his office in March 2011.
During a subsequent search of his home, a .38-caliber revolver with an obliterated serial number was found.
When he was arrested in June 2011, investigators said a 12-gauge shotgun that had been reported stolen in 1998 was seized, as were the keys to the Police Department evidence vault.