Sallisaw Residents Upset Over Police Chief Punishment

Sallisaw residents came together Friday night to voice their frustration and stand up to city commissioners. The Sallisaw City Council took away Police Chief Shaloa Edwards’ supervising powers in February.

“There’s a squirrel in the woodpile somewhere, but we’ve got to find out and get rid of it,” said Bill Talbot, a Sallisaw resident.

The Sallisaw City Council voted unanimously in February to strip the police chief of his supervising powers. “I don’t care who it is I’ll stand up for them, for what’s right, and there’s gotta be something done right,” said Talbot.

Voters elect the police chief in Sallisaw. State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) organized Friday’s town hall and says taking away the chief’s power is unconstitutional.

“When they did that they basically circumvented the voters and took away their power and they’re the ones that put the police chief there,” said Bennett.

Attendees discussed petitioning for a recall vote, asking for an audit of the city, and possibly requesting a grand jury investigation.

“I requested an opinion from the attorney general’s office,” said Bennett. “I’m talking to the state auditor as well as some other state agencies.”

Edwards is accused of taking public money for personal use. Sallisaw City Manager Bill Baker told 5NEWS Edwards returned the money.

Some at Friday’s meeting stand by the chief. “He’s a gentleman,” said Talbot. “He’s a good man. He’s been good to me.”

Edwards attended Friday’s meeting, but told 5NEWS he did not want to comment on camera.

Baker says the city launched an internal investigation and passed the information along to the district attorney’s office.

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