COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Callaway County's elected sheriff can no longer act as sheriff, at least for now, after his peace officer's license was suspended last week.
Thirteenth Circuit Presiding Judge Brouck Jacobs signed the order prohibiting Clay Chism from serving as sheriff and appointing a new interim sheriff in his place Monday, according to Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Miller. The order is subject to future judge's orders, clearing a way for him to be reinstated later.
Miller said he filed to petition to remove Chism from office. Miller's petition came after Chism's peace officer's license was suspended when reports that he was drinking and buying liquor on the job made their way to the state's top law enforcement office.
Chism's license was suspended Friday.
Chief Deputy Darryl Maylee has been appointed interim sheriff. Miller declined to comment further, citing ethics rules.
Chism was arrested by Moberly police on suspicion of drunk driving on Oct. 6 last year but the complaint cites incidents after that in which Chism was suspected of drinking while on duty.
"My legal team of attorneys is working through the due process and look forward to quickly and appropriately resolving this legal matter accordingly," Chism told ABC 17 News via text message. "All facts, including my defense, will be heard in the appropriate setting."
On March 28 this year, Associate Circuit Judge Christopher Wilson met with Chism to discuss an incident. During the meeting, Chism was dressed in uniform and carrying his firearm when Judge Wilson smelled alcohol on him, according to the complaint. Wilson also noticed that Chism's face was red and his eyes were glassy, the complaint says.
Maylee was also present at the meeting and Wilson that he had found Chism "passed out in Respondent's (Chism's) patrol vehicle in the parking lot of the CCSO" earlier that day, according to the complaint.
During the meeting, Chism admitted that he had consumed vodka that morning, but denied being drunk according to court documents. Maylee later found an empty pint-sized bottle of vodka in Chism's desk, the complaint says.
Maylee then allegedly found Chism asleep in his patrol car which was turned on, while he was wearing his uniform and had his firearm.
Multiple reports about Chism were filed by sheriff's office staff and citizens regarding Chism appearing drunk while on duty, in uniform, and carrying his firearm, according to court records.
Multiple reports taking place on May 4, June 2, June 5 and June 6 list similar situations, or confrontations with other officers.
The complaint also contains reports of Chism purchasing liquor, at least one of which was verified by surveillance video. In one report cited in the complaint, Maylee said Chism smelled like alcohol and had trouble putting on a bulletproof vest while working on the arrest of a Kansas City murder suspect earlier this month.
Most of the reports in the complaint come after Chism's arrest in Moberly on suspicion of DWI.
Moberly police were sent to an Arby's parking lot after receiving a report of property damage. An officer suspected Chism was drunk and arrested.
According to court records, Chism crashed his personal vehicle into a concrete barrier.
Chism was asleep in the driver's seat of a Ford F-150 when officers responded. Officers then opened the driver-side door, where they, "immediately smelled a strong odor of an intoxicating beverage," according to court records.
A malt liquor can was found in the center console. Officers were able to wake Chism up by shaking him, and he told officers, "he was fine and did not need anything," according to court documents.
Chism refused to step out of the vehicle, court records say officers then forcibly removed him from the vehicle.
On Nov. 10, the Randolph County prosecuting attorney charged Chism with one count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and one count of resisting or interfering with arrest.
Chism can still petition the administrative hearing commission for a review of the director's determination. If Chism files a request, the administrative hearing commission will have to set an emergency hearing within five business days.
A trial date is set for August.
Missouri law says sheriffs must hold a valid peace officer's license.