LESLIE, GA (WALB) - Criminal charges against the former police chief of Leslie are not keeping the city from paying him.
The mayor is defending that decision, and in fact, he's still getting the same salary he was making as police chief to mow and handle the city's water--in spite of his indictment for violating his oath of office.
Former police chief Bob Smith is driving around Leslie in a different form these days. His law enforcement certification is currently suspended, and although he turned in his badge and gun, he still works for the city.
We spotted him mowing the grass around town and asked the mayor about it. She would not go on camera but did speak with us.
"Right now, he's working on a water problem that we have and he's doing some water repairs. He's also in the street department and he's mowing grass," said Mayor Linda Cobb.
We also asked her if he ever went to the police department.
"Not as far as I know. Now there have been some computer issues that I think he's helped kept it out and resolved, but as far as doing any police work, he is not," said Mayor Cobb.
Four months ago, the police chief was booked at the Sumter County jail on charges that he made false statements to sheriff's investigators during a drug investigation. The city still pays him that same police chief salary to mow.
"If you're asking me if we're going to fire him--no. We're going to allow him to work in this city position," said Mayor Cobb.
Mayor Cobb said no one has objected to the hiring, and the only taxpayer we found willing to comment didn't mind either.
"It doesn't bother me at all," said Freddie Laramore.
Others around town told us they don't think it's right to continue to pay Smith his police salary, but they would not comment on camera.
What happens in the future remains to be seen.
"The town has been behind him 100% and they're wanting him to stay and wanting him to be able to sometime return as chief of police," said Mayor Cobb.
Smith is paid $19.25 an hour.
Mayor Cobb said they'll make a decision on his full time employment once the case goes to trial. His law enforcement certification is currently suspended.