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Columbus Police Captain Takes Issue with Chief Search Process

Captain Fred Shelton

Another Columbus Police Officer is claiming his application for the Chief of Police position was unjustly denied.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Robert Smith, Human Resources Director Pat Mitchell, Councilman Charlie Box, Councilman Bill Gavin, Councilman Kabir Karriem, Chief Operations Officer David Armstrong and Selection Committee Chairman Birney Imes, Captain Fred Shelton questions “Why did my application/resume not make it to the top twenty-five finalists to be considered for an interview?”
Captain Shelton, a 28 year veteran with the department, says he applied for the chief of police position and had his resume in “before the initial deadline.”
Shelton says that, while he “will support the new chief 100 percent,” he feels that when the qualifications were changed “it stacked the deck for McQueen.”
He added to that by saying “This is not about perception versus reality. This is what is happening.”
Initially, the qualifications for the police chief position demanded that the applicants have a college degree. However, when the deadline was extended the qualifications changed to “degree preferred”.
Interim Chief of Police Selvain McQueen does not have a Bachelor’s Degree but does have 116 credit hours towards his diploma.
Shelton says he has his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Arts and Education and a Master’s Degree in Religious Arts and Christian Psychology. He makes the argument that “In today’s society you need someone versatile with experience, you need education. What does it say about the department if you put someone without a degree in charge of someone with a degree?”
Captain Shelton was quick to add though this his plight “isn’t personal against McQueen. It’s about what is best for the department.”
As third in command at the department, following behind the then Chief Joseph St. John and Assistant Chief Joe Johnson, Shelton admits that he was “disappointed” when the council did not appoint him as interim chief after St. John’s firing in June.
“I was disappointed when I wasn’t made the interim. Logically, I would think, I was the third person in charge. But that’s a judgement call, and I was OK. I thought ‘Surely this Is a temporary thing. I’ll just wait and apply. But to find out I wasn’t even considered?’”
He also added that as a senior officer at the department, “Everybody knows my work. If they had said, ‘Fred, you’re a bad guy’ or if I had a bad reputation I could understand that. But then for them to not even give me an answer when I ask why I wasn’t one of the 25? To find out that I didn’t even make it? That’s what makes it look like they’ve already got their minds made up.”
According to Shelton, he asked Mitchell via email why he was not chosen as one of the 25 finalists. He claims he did not receive a response. Shelton also says that he only heard that he didn’t make the cut “through word of mouth.”
In his letter, Shelton asks for a “logical or reasonable explanation as to why and what requirement or what criteria was used to disqualify my application/resume from the selection process. In addition, I would like an explanation as to why I did not receive written notification of my status in the selection process indicating that I was either eliminated from the process or selected for further consideration.”
Mitchell says that notifying an applicant of his rejection is not standard procedure. She further added that in this particular instance, none of the remaining 57 applicants were notified that they did not make it into the top 25.
Of the 82 people that applied for the Chief of Police position, Mayor Smith, Mitchell and Armstrong narrowed down those applications to 25. Of those 25, a 21 member selection committee nominated five applicants. Those five applicants were later reduced to four when one of the applicants withdrew from the race.
In addition to his tenure with the Columbus Police Department, Captain Shelton also touts his extensive military background. Columbus Police Officer and retired Lt. Colonel Gregory Harstad also listed his nearly 25 year military career on his resume when he applied for the chief position. Neither applicants made it to the top 25.
Mitchell states that “just because someone has military experience doesn’t mean they’re qualified to run a department.”
In addition to his military training, Shelton claims that as Uniform Patrol Division Commander he has the leadership experience deemed necessary by the police chief qualifications.
Shelton applied for the position of Chief of Police with the Hamilton, Ala., police department in February of 2011. Shelton was considered as one of the top three but did not secure the position. He references that process and notes the difference between the Hamilton Police Department and Columbus Police Department in his initial e-mail to Mitchell.
His e-mail states “In this selection process, I was given written notification of my application/resume status throughout the selection process.”
Shelton maintains that he was not kept abreast of his standing when he applied for the position with the Columbus Police Department.
Mitchell responds “He can compare us to Hamilton, Ala., but I don’t know how they do things over there. I’m sure our process was much more extensive.”
In his letter, Shelton closed by saying “I believe that I have the experience, knowledge, leadership skills and education that the Chief of Police position requires. However, I was not selected for an interview, neither given written notification that I was eliminated from the selection process or a written explanation as to why, I am not eligible to be Chief of Police for the City of Columbus where I have lived and worked for over 25 years.”
Shelton then told The Packet, “Columbus deserves better. We could save the taxpayers this perception that this is fair.”
Referencing the mayor and council he added “Nothing against them but if they’re hellbent on taking this train that’s derailing and they’re hell bent on keeping it on the track…in two years, we’ll be here again.”
The Mayor and City Council will be setting up interviews with the remaining applicants but as of press time, not date had been set.



  1. Carolyn Hulen

    Captain Shelton should have been appointed interim, and certainly should be at the top of the list. However, no one has listened to public outcry from the on set of this situation. Many didn’t even want St. John fired. What would cause Columbus to think anyone would listen to us now.

  2. Robert Smalls

    This entire city and its community is highly dysfunctional. It’s entire police department is dysfunctional. No one in the PD should be named police chief, including this dude. None of the final four applicants are impressive. What a joke this search has been.

  3. Victim of Columbus HR

    The City of Columbus is good at avoiding questions as well as providing evidence against it’s employees who are unjustly accused of violating city policies. The City will bend a policy until it damn near breaks, so long as it works in their favor. Sorry to say it Capt. Shelton, but it will never change.

  4. Careful Captain Fred or you might get a visit from the Dynamic Duo from the Brawl at City Hall. At worst you’ll be accused of being an Uncle Tom and being a tool of “the man”. Seriously Fred, that interview reinforces what I said about better and more qualified candidates being cut before the final five were selected. I’d also like to thank the Packet and Ms. Fowler for helping you get the story out.
    I’ve never applied for a job, even a low paying labor job, where the company didn’t let me know I wasn’t hired. I can feel the truth slowly oozing out in this story and, for me, the more I hear the more I don’t like it. How about this new revelation Birney, tell me you didn’t know Capt. Fred applied for the job and you didn’t know the 57 applicants weren’t notified their applications were rejected. Tell me Birney you’ve been asleep at the wheel of your yacht on the river Denial on this whole scam.
    I can understand Robert Smith and Kabir trying to pass this scheme off on the taxpayers of the city but the rest of the people involved in this shell game should be ashamed of themselves. Shame on you.

  5. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Tell me Birney you’ve been asleep at the wheel of your yacht on the river Denial on this whole scam.~Thom

    Why do you think that Birney’s rag is called the Comical-Disgrace?

    Maybe Birney and his new “Managing Editor” should take a hike on his brother’s yacht?

    What a waste of paper pulp and soybean-based printer’s ink

  6. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Anyone out there know why “Doc” Foglesong hired Amy Tuck and Jeffrey Rupp as part of his entourage?

    Was Rupp’s band really that good?

    Reading the comments in the blog-link below, I’m wondering if “Doc” wasn’t a Captain Quigg copycat…ball bearings and all!

    But he has done well since then, being a member of the Neo-Con think tank Council On Foreign Relations(CFR) and a member of Yair Shamir‘s IAI “inner circle.”


  7. crazy connie

    Sometimes our personal lives seep into our professional lives and could be a reason for rejection of a resume

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