CALLAWAY COUNTY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Callaway County commissioners said Tuesday morning that they still support the sheriff removed from his office amid allegations of drinking on the job.
Clay Chism was removed as Callaway County sheriff after his peace officer license was suspended indefinitely. Callaway County commissioners appointed Chief Deputy Darryl Maylee as the interim sheriff Friday night after 13th Circuit Presiding Judge Brouck Jacobs signed the order prohibiting Chism from serving as sheriff.
Commissioners refused an interview but said they hope to have Chism back in office soon and referred to the suspension as a temporary situation.
Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Miller filed the 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.
The order is subject to further orders, and Miller in a statement called it "temporary."
Miller declined to comment any further than a press release sent out Monday evening. Interim Sheriff Maylee also declined to comment, referring any further requests to the prosecutor.
Legal process of suspending a peace officer license
Chism's lawyer, Travis Noble, said they are planning to appeal the suspension in court and looking into legal avenues. According to state statute, Chism can appeal in the circuit court and request a hearing in front of a judge.
Chism's license suspension comes from the Missouri Department of Public Safety in a process that goes through the governor-appointed Administrative Hearing Commission.
Under state statute, the department can immediately suspend the peace officer's license of someone who is charged with a felony, lost their license in another state or "presents a clear and present danger to the public health or safety if commissioned as a peace officer."
The Department of Public Safety outlines the process it takes to suspend a license on its website.
When it comes to a peace officer license, the department has several options of discipline. The state may put an officer on probation with terms such as more training, temporarily suspend an officer's license with an end date or indefinitely suspend an officer's license. Chism's license is suspended indefinitely.
State law says a sheriff must have a peace officer's license.
Complaints against Chism
The complaints against Chism are outlined in the disciplinary document filed with the Administrative Hearing Commission. The document describes several instances where Chism was allegedly drunk or buying liquor while on duty.
Employees at a Fulton liquor store told ABC 17 News that Chism frequented the drive-thru. According to the complaint documents, the liquor store provided the Department of Public Safety with surveillance video of Chism buying vodka from the store while on duty.
Chism was arrested in Moberly last October on suspicion of drinking and driving. Most of the complaints in the document are from after this incident, dating to March, May and June of this year.
Colleagues and members of the community describe instances where Chism appeared drunk and had difficulty performing his duties on the job.