Former Leesville police chief Bobby Hickman’s suit seeking alleged pay owed him by the city is back on active status.
According to City Attorney Max Anthony, the litigation has been revived since Hickman completed his sentence on a federal firearms charge.
“Nothing was every really done in the matter,” Anthony told the City Council at its meeting this week, but it has been revived by Hickman’s counsel, John D. Broomfield, Jr. of Baton Rouge, Anthony said.
Howard B. Gist, III of Alexandria is handling the matter for the city. He was retained when former City Attorney Chuck Dowden thought it improper that he defend the suit because of work done on behalf of Hickman and the police department in his city prosecutor role.
Hickman, now about 56, was fired in January 2011 for “failure to cooperate with an internal investigation.” He had been chief since 1995.
The former chief claims he had 1,674 hours of accrued annual leave for “compensated absences payable/accrued vacation”, paying at his rate of $31.20 an hour - about $53,000.
According to the suit, the city paid Hickman for 160 hours - about $5,000, claiming anything else determined to be owned should be overruled by what Hickman owed the city. Its response also cites his weapons conviction.
Hickman was convicted in federal court after a March 2011 search of his home turned up a sawed-off shotgun, not registered , as well as a revolver with an obliterated serial number. In 2012 he received a 46-month prison sentence, followed by supervised probation.
The shotgun had been stolen from a contractor working at Fort Polk. At the time, it had a factory- condition barrel, the court was told. The pistol, allegedly property of the city, was found behind a bedroom television.
The search warrant was issued as part of the city’s effort to recover any department assets in Hickman’s possession after his termination.
The termination was initially reversed by a 3rd Circuit panel of judges which determined Civil Service laws and the Policeman’s Bill of Rights had not been followed.
The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed that decision, finding that the conviction and incarceration made Hickman’s reinstatement impossible and rendered moot the procedural arguments raised in Hickman’s appeal.
The internal investigation which Hickman allegedly failed to cooperate with began after an officer (subsequently convicted on federal charges) alleged that Hickman and two other officers were involved with him in a legend drugs scheme. The other two officers resigned.