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New Jonesboro police chief resigns

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

The City of Jonesboro's new police chief has resigned, five weeks after being named to the top job.

"I have resigned, and I've accepted an opportunity at another agency, and I'm excited about that," Tim Jessup said Thursday.

Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox confirmed that Jessup submitted a letter of resignation on Wednesday.

Jessup said he originally intended that his last day with the Jonesboro Police Department would be Jan. 19, but later chose to make Thursday his last day.

"After a long period of time discussing it with my family, I just decided, an opportunity came about, and I'm going to take that opportunity," he said.

Jessup said he will begin working, Monday, as a deputy sheriff for the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

"The city has been good to me," he said. "There's nothing to make a big storm about. I just pretty much decided this [job of police chief] wasn't for me," he said.

"Most of my career, I've spent in investigations, and that's just more up my alley, rather than being an administrator, and in charge of everything," he said.

Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said Jessup will be assigned to a unit that deals with internal affairs. "He's going to be an investigator, assigned to my special investigations unit," Kimbrough said.

"I think he has a wealth of experience that we can tap into, and certainly, his connectivity and experience from Jonesboro can't do anything but help us. So, I think it's a positive thing all the way around," Kimbrough said.

"I hate to see him go," said Maddox. "He was doing a great job. He'd been interim chief since last May, and became chief in December."

Maddox said no decision has been made regarding a replacement for the top job.

"That's going to have to be determined by the council," he said." We have a council meeting Monday night, so I'm pretty sure that'll be one of the topics of discussion."

The mayor added that the council would likely name an interim chief of police, and then later decide on a permanent chief.

The Jonesboro City Council voted, unanimously, Dec. 3, to make Jessup police chief, after Maddox fired former chief Brad Johnson in May of last year. Maddox said Johnson had not successfully completed a probationary period. The mayor had earlier suspended Johnson for wearing blue jeans on the job, and said Johnson disrespected the office of mayor.

Johnson filed a petition in Clayton County Superior Court, seeking to appeal the suspension and firing. On Dec. 22, Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield granted a motion to dismiss Johnson's petition, according to court records.

The order dismissing the petition did not address whether the city acted properly in suspending and firing Johnson. The order dealt with the manner in which the petition was filed.

Maddox admitted that there has been high turnover in the position of police chief in Jonesboro. He said there have been at least a half dozen police chiefs in the past ten years. "I hate to see Tim Jessup go," he said. "And I thought we were on the way to stability in the department, but we've had lots of chiefs come and go, even before I took office [as Mayor]," he said.