In a meeting that could have lasted 10 minutes, or even as long, the Wister City Board of Directors approved the hiring of Eli Clark as the new volunteer administrator of the Wister Police Department and Dennis Sugg Jr. as Wister’s new PD officer in a special Friday night meeting at the Wister Municipal Building.
Wister Trustee Carla Pride voted no in approving both hires, but the other three trustees – Max Harris, Steven Bishop and Traci Bethell – approved each hire, so each hire was approved by a 3-1 vote.
Just as the meeting was officially adjourned, those present asked about the decisions, but council members did not respond.
However, Clark offered to speak to customers outside the Wister Municipal Building, in which he and Sugg Jr. basically had a group meeting for about 20 minutes while the two answered questions.
“I’m not a sworn officer,” Clark told patrons as the group gathered outside the building. “I’m a retired officer from another state, California. I spent 20 years (in law enforcement). The only reason I’m stepping in is because I’m as passionate as this gentleman (in the patron group meeting) My children are also in this community. I live in this community. So when there is a void like this, I can’t just ignore it. I’m here to protect my children and my family who lives in this community.That’s the real reason (I sought the position of volunteer director of Wister PD) I have an interest in it.
However, one of the customers bounced back with a question, “Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself into? If I were you, I’d be scared to go work for these (Wister Board of Directors ).” Another customer said, “Trusting these people (admins) is like the devil is talking to you. It’s like you’re under their thumb. heads.”
A third customer said: “You know that in April there will be a chief of police above you, right?”
“I don’t play political games,” Clark said. “Again, I sympathize with you (the crowd of customers who stayed outside the building after the meeting to talk to Clark and Sugg). I have family. They mean something to me. there is no police department someone has to do something For me to sit and stay retired and do nothing I feel guilty That’s why I stepped up . We’re working to try to hire everyone. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re doing our best.”
Clark explained to the crowd what led him to let himself apply for the position of volunteer director of Wister PD.
“I walked to the police department, and it was locked,” Clark said. “As a retired officer, every year I have to qualify my firearm that I carry off duty. Usually retired officers go to the police department they live in, in this case, Wister PD I’ll open this door, and it’s locked I went to (Wister) town hall Vicky (Lloyd) was sitting there I explained to her why I was there, then she told me said. I prayed about it. I didn’t make that decision right then and there. It took a while. I put it in God’s hands. I just think a door s ‘is open.
As for Sugg Jr., who lives in Wister, he was not a popular patrolman when he was on staff with the Panama Police Department.
“I wasn’t from Panama, and they knew it,” Sugg Jr. said. “I gave several warnings to the townspeople because they were speeding through town. when I started writing them tickets. I tried to be lenient with them and gave them several warnings. They didn’t like it, so I started by writing them tickets. A bunch of rumors started, and I got fed up and quit. I didn’t get fired. I didn’t get fired. I live here in Wister. I actually applied twice here (with Wister PD). One was when (former Wister PD leader) Brandon (Cooper) was leader. I like Brandon…a lot. I was still in CLEET (training) at that time.
A final question posed by a client to Clark and Sugg Jr. was, “What kind of hold are these people going to have on you whenever they finally hire you and want to walk away from any deal. or start withdrawing from funding?”
“I respect the law,” Clark said. “If they ask me to do something that’s against the law, I won’t do it. I don’t play like that. Why would I put myself and my pension that I get from California at risk?”
Cooper, who had served as chief of the Wister Police Department, resigned Aug. 5 after being rehired at a special meeting Aug. 4.
At a special meeting on July 15, the board approved the termination of the Cooper and Wister Police Department detachment. Shawn Booth, but by the time the August board meeting was held on August 1, Wister Town Board legal counsel Robert Stockton advised the board that all appropriate protocols had not been followed at the July 15 meeting. .
After the regular August 1 meeting, a special emergency meeting was held at which Cooper and Booth were rehired.
Prior to the August 4 meeting, Booth resigned, but the board decided not to fire Cooper but to ask two of its directors, Max Harris and Steven Morris, to discuss with Cooper a “pending dismissal “. The next day, Cooper submitted his resignation and went to work as a patrolman at the Heavener Police Department.
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