4 Oxford officers quit, 2 demoted in deer headlighting incident

Published 5:30 pm Friday, December 8, 2006

Four Oxford police officers have resigned and two others have been demoted following what authorities said was the illegal headlighting of deer.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen took the action Tuesday after a closed door session.

Aldermen accepted the resignations of Patrolmen William Earl Parrish, John Gregory Hale Jr., Jason Butts and Kelly Drewery.

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The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks cited Hale and Parrish this past week, according to Lafayette County Justice Court records. Both officers were charged with one count of headlighting deer on Nov. 28.

Both now face fines of $2,117 each and their court dates have been scheduled for Jan. 9.

Hale was also charged with possession of illegal game, which carries a $227 penalty.

The Oxford Police Department and the MDWFP say their investigations investigated the allegations.

Butt and Drewery have not been charged but were suspected of being involved as well, officials said.

Wildlife officials said the activity occurred inside the city limits with the officers using their patrol cars while on duty.

Police Chief Steve Bramlett said two other officers were demoted and suspended for five days. Bramlett said the officers, whose names were not made public, were “reprimanded and disciplined for failure to report inappropriate and illegal acts to supervisors in violation of city and departmental policy.”

“The matter had been dealt with appropriately and we are moving past this,” Bramlett said. “We fully understand the seriousness of this event. The department will continue to serve our citizens to the best of our ability.”