City of White Mayor Kim Dupree Billue announced that Chief of Police Christopher Barnes had resigned from the position at a special-called public meeting on Tuesday evening.
“I would like to thank the mayor and city council for the support and opportunity,” she read Barnes’ resignation letter. “I feel that it is time for me to step down in order to allow the police department to prosper and continue to move forward in the future.”
Members of the city council voted unanimously to accept Barnes’ resignation, as well as a motion to name Officer Blake Davidson as White’s interim police chief.
The bulk of the special-called meeting revolved around Nero, the City’s K-9 officer.
“Would ya’ll have any arguments about selling it back to Chris, since he’s had it the longest?” Davidson asked the council. “I mean, he’s been here two years with that dog.”
As Billue noted, however, the City could not just give the former police chief the K-9 officer.
At that point, White City Attorney Leslie Vaughan Simmons asked council members to take into consideration the costs of maintaining Nero.
“My personal opinion, I don’t think we still need to keep paying for the dog and all the training that goes along with the dog,” Davidson said.
White City Clerk Robin Deal indicated the City paid $4,000 for the K-9 officer — a revelation that came as a surprise to several residents in attendance at the meeting, who were under the impression the canine was donated to the municipality.
“Being an animal lover, I wouldn’t take a man’s dog away from him,” said Councilman Charles Buttrum. “If the City does put a price on the dog, I’l pay for it and I’ll give it back to Chris.”
From there, the council voted unanimously to sell Nero back to Barnes — for the sum of $10.
After the vote, there was a brief discussion about whether or not the arrangement also included the K-9 officer’s equipment. The council concluded the meeting by unanimously approving a motion allowing Barnes to also collect several additional objects and materials associated with the K-9 officer.
“He’s got a leash, I think a couple of collars,” Davidson said. “A lot of it’s donated, and we don’t need it.”
The City of White Police Department promoted a fundraiser pageant event at Saturday’s Friendliest Mile Festival.