Residents question Opp mayor, support African American officer

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A roomful of residents from Opp’s predominately black district showed up to express their dissatisfaction with the new mayor’s appointments for police chief and assistant chief.

Aaron Bogen, spokesman for the group, questioned Mayor John Bartholomew on why Capt. Jenkins Logan wasn’t considered for either position after he has served the department for 43 years.

“You don’t know him,” Bogen said. “The rest of the council does.”

Bogen also claimed that newly appointed Chief Mike McDonald “is not a people person and is already setting up road blocks in the community.”

Bartholomew told Bogen he would give him his five minutes, but wouldn’t comment on the appointments. Bartholomew offered to meet with Bogen at another time to address his concerns.

Bogen also expressed his concern over Investigator Walter Inabinett, claiming he was “telling lies and planting pills on kids and carrying them to jail. We see him as a threat. He’s playing dirty.”

Bogen told the Star-News before the meeting that he was planning to get the NAACP involved.

After the meeting, District 4 Councilwoman Mary Brundidge, who worked for the OPD for nearly 31 years as a dispatcher, said she supported Logan as chief or assistant chief.

“No one asked me,” she said of who she thought should be the next chief and assistant chief. “I didn’t know until a week before when I received the council agenda, but I do support (Logan).

Bartholomew told the Star-News after the meeting that the decision wasn’t just his to install McDonald as chief and Kevin Chance as assistant chief.

“We felt like the decision we made was the right one for Opp,” he said. “We’re not saying that Mr. Logan is not a good man. There are other officers that could have been chosen, as well. We felt like these were the best, and chief Mike McDonald felt that Kevin Chance would be the best fit as his right-hand man.”

Bartholomew said that any council members who weren’t happy with the appointments had the opportunity to speak up.

“I presented them with some choices,” he said. “They could have spoke up again at the meeting, but everyone voted in favor.”

Bartholomew also said he wanted the residents of Opp to voice their opinions.

“This is their city,” he said. “We are here to serve them, and we don’t mind if they voice their opinion, and we respect them.”