Former police chief pleads guilty to lesser charge

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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A former Alabama police chief pleaded guilty last week to impersonating a public servant during a 2022 traffic stop in Covington County.

Michael Ryan Jones

Michael Ryan Jones had served as the police chief in Brookside, Alabama until he resigned in January 2021 following reports of the small town’s aggressive policing drew the attention of local and state lawmakers.

A few months later, in April 2022, Ryan was stopped for speeding by a Covington County Sheriff’s Department deputy. Although retired from the Brookside Police Department, local officials said Jones used his police badge in identifying himself as Brookside’s police chief in an attempt to avoid a traffic ticket. A few days later Jones turned himself in to the Covington County Jail on the charges of impersonating a peace officer.

Jones appeared in Covington County Circuit Court last week and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of impersonating a public servant. He is ordered to pay $25, a $250 bail bond fee, plus attorney fees and costs. He was sentenced to three months, which was suspended due to a separate probation order and received credit for any time served.

As part of the plea agreement, District Attorney Walt Merrell said Jones was ordered to relinquish his police certification and is no longer eligible to serve as a law enforcement officer in Alabama.