Brusly Chief of Police Jamie Whaley announced Monday that he would resign as the town’s head law enforcement official, effective April 25.
Whaley’s resignation comes on the heels of his April 10 indictment by a grand jury on felony charges of theft and malfeasance in office. The charges stem from an investigation by the FBI and Inspector General that alleged Whaley charged $1,120 to a town-issued fleet credit card for gasoline used in his personal vehicle and boat.
Whaley receives a $1,000 monthly stipend from the town for fuel and other vehicle expenses to his personal vehicle, which was being used for police duties.
Whaley, the town council and Brusly Mayor Joey Normand agreed that Whaley would use his personal vehicle for his police duties and would be allotted a $1,000 allowance for expenses, including fuel.
An affidavit for the original arrest, which took place January 23, states that Whaley used the town issued fleet credit card on 29 separate occasions between January 2, 2013-January 3, 2014 to fuel his personal truck and/or boat – despite his monthly fuel allowance with the town.
The affidavit states that when confronted with the facts, Whaley admitted to using the fleet credit card to fuel his vehicle and boat for personal use.
“He was shown the spreadsheet of card use and… admitted that the entries accurately reflected his illegal use of the card,” the affidavit states.
On April 10, a West Baton Rouge grand jury indicted Whaley on theft and malfeasance in office charges based on the documentation and witness testimonies.
West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Colonel Richie Johnson said that the indictment by grand jury solidifies the charges.
“It tells you there were 12 other people, who had no exposure to the case, that felt the same way as the officer and the judge who signed the affidavit for probable cause,” Johnson said.
Whaley, who now faces an arraignment hearing in the 18th Judicial District Court on May 6, took to the Internet after his indictment, displaying his disappointment to Facebook.com, a popular social media website.
“What a long and disappointing day today but I guess it was worth the life lesson to learn the true character of our community leaders even though I had to learn the hard way!” Whaley wrote in a status on his public profile.
Though some scrutinized Whaley and called for his resignation upon hearing of the grand jury indictment, many Brusly residents and friends of Whaley’s took to his personal Facebook page to encourage him.
Alise Landry, of Prarieville, commented on Whaley’s status, encouraging him to “have faith,” and “keep your head up.”
“We are human, mistakes that are made and wholeheartedly corrected and acknowledged are far more honorable than those who do not own their errors, in which is abundant in the Brusly community of leaders,” she said.
Whaley, in a separate status, later on April 10, said that he has sacrificed a lot to be the town’s chief of police, but eluded to thoughts of resigning his position.
“I truly love our community and I have always loved helping people in any way I could! Through the years I have missed holidays and important events with my family to keep others safe or reassure them. I have been stabbed once, shot in the ankle once, had stitches, broken bones, etc., all for the well being of others in the line of duty. I just truly don't know how much fight I have left in me,” he wrote
West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Colonel Richie Johnson, who served as the town’s assistant chief until resigning from the position about two weeks ago, said Friday that he thought a resignation from Whaley would be a good decision.
“At this point, his credibility has been called into question, a grand jury has ratified that question of credibility by indicting him,” said Johnson, who said that he has been a mentor-of-sorts to Whaley since Whaley was 16. “To stay in that position would only be self-serving. It would not be in the best interest of the town. When you run for that position, you’re supposedly running to help the town’s people and help the town.”
Whaley, on Monday, announced that he would, in fact, resign his position as police chief, effective April 25.
"Effective April 25, 2014, I, Jamie J. Whaley, do hereby tender my resignation as Chief of Police for the Town of Brusly,” he wrote in a letter to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office – which was marked as received by the Commissions Department of the Secretary of State’s office on April 14.
Whaley did not answer or return phone calls made Monday and Tuesday by the West Side Journal, but did speak with WAFB channel 9 news about his resignation.
“I think it’s the best thing for the town, me stepping down. Brusly doesn’t need to be in the news every day. It’s a great town,” he said.
Whaley’s personal Facebook.com page was loaded with comments of support and well wishes from town residents and others.
“Everyone uses bad judgment sometimes. You are human. What I'm saying is actions do not define who you are. You are a great police chief, and a good guy, and we all felt safe under your watch,” said Belinda Jarreau.
Whaley, who also works as a Plaquemine Police officer, told WAFB reporters that he didn’t know, as of Monday, April 14, if he would continue working with Plaquemine P.D.
Plaquemine Police Chief, Orian Gulotta, said Tuesday that Whaley is not currently a member of the Plaquemine Police Department.
“I spoke with (Whaley) briefly, and as of now he is not working for the Plaquemine Police Department,” Gulotta said. “I thought it was best for us all that we see what happens through his trial.”
Brusly Mayor Joey Normand said that what Whaley and the town are going through is unfortunate, but said that he believes everything will work out in the end.
“We have a great town. We have great people in the town. Everybody has their bumps in the road every now and then; and we have ours, and we’ll deal with it,” Normand said.
Upon Whaley’s resignation, on April 25, the town council will have 20 days to appoint an interim chief to remain in the position until a special election can be held to elect a new chief to fulfill the remaining more-than-two year term Whaley will leave.
Whaley was in his third term as police chief, having served in the position longer than 10 years. He began his third term in January 2012 – his term ends December 2016.