Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Former Tupelo Chief Coming to Columbus

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Former Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton is coming to Columbus as assistant police chief, several sources confirmed to WCBI.

Carleton was in Columbus Tuesday meeting with city officials and the City Council has a special meeting called for 2:30 p.m. today to confirm the hiring and another key police department position.

Carleton will be assistant chief over criminal investigations, a position Chief Selvain McQueen created last fall under a restructuring approved by the City Council. The position has sat unfilled since then.

WCBI first reported the possible hiring Tuesday.

Carleton and McQueen began discussing it earlier this year at a police chief’s conference after Carleton realized he might not be in the plans for new Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton’s administration. Columbus Mayor Robert Smith met with Carleton three weeks ago and was sold on his hiring.

Carleton officially announced his resignation as chief in Tupelo Monday evening and left the city on good terms after almost four years on the job. He previously was a top administrator in the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.

Carleton will have the same rank as current long-time assistant chief Joe Johnson, who oversees the patrol division.

McQueen has reportedly been looking to leave the department or retire and some speculate that Carleton would be in line to fill the top cop job if he does decide to leave. McQueen has denied he has any plans to leave.

Carleton’s hiring will be contingent on a change to the city’s civil service rules. Last year, when the city was contemplating making McQueen chief, the Civil Service Commission gave the new chief the authority to hire an assistant chief within six months if he deemed the position necessary. That six months has expired. The Civil Service Commission will hold a public hearing on Oct. 10 to amend the rule by removing the six-month provision.