|Updated: 3/10/2010 8:36 am
||Published: 3/09/2010 5:34 pm
The former Pine Bluff Police Chief talks about his meeting with the mayor that led to his firing. John Howell says he and Mayor Carl Redus both said some things they probably shouldn't have but he never thought he would lose his job over it.
John Howell has badges of honor won during a long career. Law enforcement is his passion, so after leaving state police he sought the job as Pine Bluff's Police Chief. It ended four years later during a meeting with Mayor Carl Redus.
Howell says the mayor demanded changes after a recent murder and shooting near his home. He told him he was working on it and things would turn around in a year when he could hire 13 more officers.
"The mayor got mad and told me he didn't want to hear that from me and he just got loud and I said, 'If you don't think I’m doing a good job then fire me' and he did," says Howell.
Howell admits they had a contentious relationship but this surprised him. Reverend Jesse Turner with the Weed and Seed program says Howell made the city safer and wants him re-instated.
"Crime has been down successive months in Pine Bluff," says Turner. "He's been working well with Weed and Seed."
Mayor Redus couldn't be reached Tuesday, but in an earlier interview he said the city was going in a different direction.
Howell isn't sure if he'll fight for his job but he wants his former officers to know he thinks highly of them.
"Remember old guys like myself care a lot about you. Maybe our spirits will be looking over their shoulders on dark nights. I'm sorry."
Howell says Mayor Redus asked him to resign. When he refused, he fired him and later sent him a two sentence termination letter. Several council members tell FOX16 News they still haven't been briefed on why Mayor Redus fired Howell.