The revolving door of the chief of the Lumberton Police Department continues to rotate as the Lumberton Board of Aldermen recently approved a new police chief by a 4-1 vote, only to have him reclassified as interim chief a week later.
Yves Jones, a current Lumberton police officer, was named chief at the board’s regular called meeting on May 5. But at a special-called meeting one week after that, he was brought down to interim chief, with the process of choosing a new chief to begin anew.
Ward 3 Alderman Jonathan Griffith, who voted against Jones’s appointment to chief, said there was no reason given as to Jones’ reclassification, but the choice was made during personnel discussions at the special-called meeting.
“There was some situation where he was promoted, and there were five other officers promoted at the same time,” Griffith said. “I originally voted no for him to be appointed chief, because first of all, I don’t like items presented to me at the meeting to make a decision.
“You have a month to get us everything that needs to be on the agenda, and if things are amended at the meeting, I have a problem with that because it seems like that’s just something that’s being sprung on you. If you were intending to make someone a chief, then surely that’s a decision that was made prior to the board meeting.”
The other five officers who were promoted also were reclassified.
Griffith said the process to find a new chief will begin again, but he is concerned because he was of the understanding that the board would confer with Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel to find a suitable candidate, and so far that hasn’t been the case.
“His department was supposed to interview the applicants we had on file and make a recommendation who was best,” Griffith. “Board members, as they often say, don’t know what questions to ask a person who’s becoming a police chief.
“So they thought if another law enforcement agency did the interview process and made those recommendations, we could make a selection based on their recommendations. Somehow, that process has been intercepted and the mayor didn’t want to go through that process, and so that’s what taking us so long to get another chief.”
Mayor Quincy Rogers did not return calls for this story.
The turnover at the police chief position goes back to March 2018 when then-chief Shane Flynt resigned after a video surfaced of him reportedly smoking marijuana. His successor, Carlus Page, was soon after removed as chief and reclassified as a police officer.
Larry Allen was then named chief, but resigned shortly after, and Adam Jones was sworn in as chief in May 2019. Jones resigned from the position in November 2019, making him the fourth chief to leave that seat in a two-year period.
In his resignation letter, Jones said several false allegations had been made against him, but no investigation was conducted and he was never given a reason for the allegations.
“I refuse to be belittled in a professional capacity when my excellent job performance supersedes me,” the letter stated. “I was never written up by my first-line supervisor, Mayor Quincy Rogers, nor given a written letter of reprimand by him.
“It has been a pleasure working for the City of Lumberton, and I pray that one day this city can prosper and move forward under the right leadership. Thanks for the opportunity and I wish you all well.”