Police chief demoted, suspended for 60 days

Tuesday, February 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WATTS, Okla. (AP) -- Watts' chief of police for more than two years has been demoted to patrolman and suspended for 60 days, officials say.

Police Chief Billy Ames was suspended with pay Jan. 19 because he was not doing what the town hired him to do, City Director Gary Fain said Monday. Officer Mike Johnson will serve as interim chief for the town, Fain said.

City Councilor Lisa Tennison said Ames was not patrolling the town or performing duties the council expected him to do, so he was suspended pending the next council meeting in March.

The council will re-evaluate Ames' position then and take action, Mayor Roy Hammers said. When Ames comes before the council again, it will be as a patrol officer, not the chief, Hammers added.

Council members were criticized last year when they paid Ames $7,000 in back pay for overtime hours.

Tennison said Ames assured the council that he had contacted the labor board and that the $7,000 payment was proper.

But Tennison said she later found out from the labor board that Ames was in a supervisory position and was considered exempt. He should not have been paid the money, Tennison said. The board tabled the issue.

The council will review Ames' employment and consider action on the $7,000 payment at next month's meeting.