Five police officers with the Jacksonville Police Department filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city, Mayor Gary Fletcher, and City Attorney/Acting Police Director Robert Bamburg alleging that since Bamburg's appointment "chaos has ensued" in the police force.
Bamburg was appointed to the police director position by Fletcher after Geoffrey Herweg was removed as Jacksonville's police chief. Herweg wasn't allowed to be police chief because he previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Texas.
This lawsuit comes after the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police issued a "vote of no confidence" against Fletcher and Bamburg. In February, JFOP said Bamburg's appointment has led to "extremely slow communication" between police director and the command staff.
Bamburg has reportedly sent directives through emails including telling officers that transfer were going to be made.
In the lawsuit, Bamburg's appointment has caused "chaos" within the police department. Among the problems, the officers say people have been assigned to positions in the police department where they have less experience.
Three school resource officers were transferred from their positions, which created concerned among not only parents but the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District as well. Two of the school resource officers were reinstated after the district agreed to take on half of the costs for the officers.
The lawsuit also alleges that public information has been severely limited, which has prompted "local news outlets to profile the city's leadership critically." April Kiser, the public information officer, was removed from her position and all requests by the media now go directly to Bamburg.
According to the lawsuit, the police department has been operating without an acting police chief since July 2017.
It alleges that Fletcher created the position of police director without authority and "delegated powers that he is not authorized by law to delegate."
"Regardless of how defendants characterize the position, the appointment the city attorney to an additional municipal officer violates Arkansas law," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges that important positions have not been filled and that certain records have not been maintained, "including without limitation required K-9 certification records."
"Director Bamburg's actions jeopardize the operations of the department and therefore public safety in Jacksonville," the officers said in the lawsuit.
To read the full lawsuit, click here.