Vian Police Chief Steps Down Over Arrest Of City Councilor's Son
VIAN, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma police chief and officer have resigned, saying they can't work for a town that puts politics over the law.
Lindsey Green has worked in law enforcement for nearly three years. She was hired in December as Vian’s first paid female police officer.
“It's in my blood, I guess,” she said. “You get in this business because you want to help people.”
In March, Green accepted the officer of the month award from Chief Ted Johnson; but now both are out of a job after resigning following the arrest of a councilman's son, Green said.
“The law's for everyone. It doesn't matter if your dad's a council member or not,” she said.
Green said she pulled over Josh Smith last week after another officer reported Smith was driving with a suspended license - something she said Smith had been cited for a few months earlier, so she arrested him and took him to jail.
Green said she had no idea who it was, but she quickly found out.
“I was not so nicely informed of who he was,” she said.
The arrest report says City Attorney Larry Vickers told Green she didn't have probable cause to arrest Smith and ordered her to release him. The report says Vian's mayor told her she'd violated Smith's civil rights by taking him to jail, then sent the court clerk to get Smith.
Green said she contacted the local judge who told her she had probable cause and that the arrest was justified.
She said it’s “small town politics.”
Mayor Dennis Fletcher wouldn't comment on what the report says, saying, “I'll decline at this time to answer that. I'll have to talk to Larry, but I'd love to get back with you on that.”
He said the city is investigating whether Green and the chief did anything wrong.
The mayor said the city did not have plans to fire Green. He said an outside agency may be brought in to investigate.
Green said she resigned after being told she'd likely be fired.
“I know I'm in the right and I don't want a termination on my record,” she said.
Wednesday, Green’s boss did the same saying he stands by his officer.
“It makes you feel good as an officer to know that your leader, your boss, is gonna stand behind you,” she said.