Chief Says “I Ain’t Filed S@*t!”
BY JEFF CLARK
Amidst a rumor that he has filed his retirement papers, Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen told me that he has not filed anything, although his word was a much more colorful one of the vulgar nature.
McQueen is responding to a front-page spread last week in the local daily claiming he had filed for retirement. I called Human Resources Director Pat Mitchell to ask if McQueen had filed his retirement papers and Pat told me he had “filed them last year to see how much time he had left, but he had not filed a letter of his intent to retire.”
Even though retirement papers allegedly filed last year are not a big deal, McQueen said the information was “absolutely false.”
“I have not filed any paperwork whatsoever with Pat Mitchell,” McQueen said. “I did ask human resources how long I had left before I could retire — everyone does that. It’s no big deal.”
So, when I asked McQueen if he was certain, because if he had filed retirement papers, they would turn up on the front page of the daily with a smiley face and a heart on them, McQueen reiterated his point.
“I ain’t filed s@*t,” he said. “I also don’t think it’s right for human resources to be putting my business out there. I guarantee you if you call the state and ask them anything regarding my retirement, they aren’t going to tell you anything.”
According to a state employee who has filed retirement papers, the process started with a discussion with his local HR rep. Then, the actual paperwork was filled out with Jackson. The paperwork simply shows an intent to retire and it is not chained to any actual date. The paperwork is good for a three-year period. The reason this is done is in case of death, the state will have to pay its portion of the retirement fund to the benefactor. If an intent is not filed, the benefactor will only receive what the deceased paid towards the retirement fund.
But it’s all a moot point, because McQueen is retiring. Packet Publisher Colin Krieger has said this in print numerous times; it’s old news, y’all. But once more and with great fanfare: Ladies and gentlemen, Selvain McQueen is going to leave the Columbus Police Department. And his replacement is already in place. No, there won’t be any holistic community-wide search committee or input from the citizens. Sure, there was a committee last time to find Joe St. John’s replacement and members of the local media were even placed on the committee, which, by the way, was a total public relations setup. It would be hard for the media to criticize the newly-crowned chief if they had a hand in appointing him.
No, there won’t be search committee. There may be a council-appointed committee to look at résumés, but that will be it. The council will advertise the job, accept résumés and former Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton will be hired as the chief. I had a councilman tell me the following point blank: “I think Carleton is the man for the job, and that’s why I brought him to Columbus.” OK. That’s good enough for me.
Carleton decides he doesn’t want the job, then it goes to CID Commander Don English, who has a résumé that’s very impressive. Even under soon-to-be-Chief Carleton, English will be the next in command.
Meet Don English
I had the opportunity to talk with Commander English recently, and he’s a big deal for Columbus. English is a 37-year veteran of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department. For the unfamiliar, Jefferson Parish encompasses most of the suburbs of New Orleans, including Metairie and Gretna, the Parish seat. It is almost 650 square miles in area and its population is about 435,000.
English, who retired as a captain, spent 30 of his 37 years in criminal investigation, including 16 years in homicide.
For fans of the CBS show “Criminal Minds,” which airs locally on WCBI, English is a graduate of Class #187 of The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, Va.
“I’ve had extensive education and training in criminal investigation,” English said.
Since coming to Columbus, where he was named Commander of CID during the Jan. 7 city council meeting, English said he has been trying to implement a few changes within CID.
“I’ve been making a few administrative changes that I felt were needed,” he said. “We really do have a great group of guys over here. I’m just trying to help them improve their case presentations so they don’t leave any doors open for the defense. I’m hoping to set up a meeting with DA Forrest Allgood soon.”
English has also been going through old case files, including several cold cases, and familiarizing himself with Columbus and its crime.
“I’ve been told most of the burglaries are being done by juveniles. You have to treat them differently. Juveniles are more difficult to process and bring before the court.”
English said he enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time.
“I’m starting to get to know the people of Columbus,” English said. “Man, everybody is so nice here. I plan on staying here. I’m not here just for a year or two. I plan on staying in Columbus.”
Don English, as a former resident of New Orleans, I welcome with you with boisterous, “Who Dat!” and “Laissez les bon temps rouler.”