A Sequoyah County judge issued an order Tuesday (Aug. 6) in favor of embattled Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards who filed a civil suit against the city.
Judge Holli Wells’ order gives Edwards permission to return to his post. In the order, the judge states that the 90 day emergency period allowing Baker to supervise the department has since passed and has not been renewed to her knowledge, therefore restoring Edwards as police chief.
“I’m the chief and I’m back in charge,” Edwards said. “I have the court order that’s been signed off by the judge. If you say differently, you’re in contempt of court.”
Edwards was stripped of his supervising powers in February amid allegations of embezzlement. He admitted to taking small amounts of money from the police department’s cash box on three occasions for personal use and returning the cash later, according to Sallisaw Mayor Shannon Vann.
“I said I did it and I paid the money back,” Edwards said. “I even left an IOU so I wouldn’t forget and you know I never had any intent of stealing money or anything like that. I didn’t realize that what I was doing was wrong.”
However, city manager Bill Baker says the city commission will discuss the issue in an executive session at their next meeting on Monday (Aug. 12).
“The city commission relieved him of that and assigned me to supervise the police department,” Baker said. “I’ll continue to do that until they tell me differently, or direct me otherwise.”
Okla. State Rep. John Bennett called the issue “unconstitutional,” and plans to help Edwards resume the position he was elected to.
Edwards said he’s hoping to finish out the rest of his term strong and plans to run for re-election in 2014.
Edwards still faces criminal charges for the embezzlement allegations. He will be in court for a preliminary hearing for that on Sep. 24.