By Othor Cain,
After more than 30 years on the force, Jackson’s police chief calls it quits. Vance, who was named chief of police by former Mayor Tony Yarber announced Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the year.
When named in 2013 as Yarber’s choice for police chief Vance said then, “I started off as a recruit, and I worked my way up from beat cop to sergeant, from lieutenant to commander, to assistant chief all through those years. From a professional standpoint, obviously it’s a fulfillment.”
Vance said becoming a police officer was a calling, a career he didn’t want at first.
“God put me here because He wanted me here,” Vance said. “And you work on His schedule, not yours, right? He picked the time for me to step into this, and Mayor Yarber obviously went along with that.”
Current Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who began serving as Jackson’s mayor in July had not officially named Vance as his choice to lead the men and women of JPD, but Vance remained in the role with much uncertainty about his future. According to state statue 21-15-41, no person shall serve in an interim or hold-over capacity for longer than one hundred eighty (180) days in a position that is required by law to be filled by appointment of the governing body of a municipality, or by mayoral appointment with the advice and consent of the council or alderman. If such position is not filled within the 180 days after the expiration of the position’s term, no municipal funds may thereafter be expended to compensate the person serving in the position.
December 4, marked 150 days that Vance has been serving in a hold-over role. Thursday is the last council meeting for 2017 and the council agenda does not include an action item pertaining to Vance.
Lumumba said in a prepared statement, “Chief Lee Vance will be retiring at the conclusion of the year. Both in my capacity as mayor and prior to becoming mayor, I’ve had great respect for Chief Vance. He has been an asset to the City and an asset to my family personally. We celebrate his thirty plus year career and an argument can be made that Chief Lee Vance is the best police chief that the City has seen to date.”
No official word on what Vance plans to do after retirement.