Mike Jones, former police chief in the troubled Alabama town of Brookside, was arrested today on felony charges of impersonating a peace officer during a traffic stop in south Alabama.
Jones, accompanied by his lawyer, Corey Bryan of Andalusia, turned himself in at the Covington County Jail on Monday, Covington County Sheriff Blake Turman said.
Jones was stopped on April 12 by a Covington County deputy after being clocked driving 78 mph in a 55 zone on Alabama 55 south. When the deputy approached the car, he “reported that the driver of the vehicle was holding a police badge out of the driver’s window,” according to the affidavit filed by the county to obtain a warrant for Jones.
The deputy described a Brookside badge with a chief indicator at the bottom. However, Jones resigned or was let go from Brookside’s police department on Jan. 25, soon after reports of the small town’s aggressive policing drew the attention of state lawmakers and local officials.
The affidavit says Jones told the Covington deputy he was the chief in Brookside, a town a couple hundred miles north, just past Birmingham. The deputy gave him “a professional courtesy verbal warning” and sent him on his way.
Jones’ lawyer, Bryan, did not return calls today. Outside the jail this morning, the lawyer told Blaine Wilson of WAAO News in Andalusia that Jones is innocent and he will prove it in court.
“I can’t stand a dirty cop,” Sheriff Turman told AL.com. “I can stand a thief better than a dirty cop. All they do is take people’s rights. I can’t stand them.”
In a statement today, Turman said “In this case, we had a young deputy that was trying to be respectful to a supposed veteran officer and gave him a break. But Jones was not the Chief at Brookside when he held himself out to be, using deception to disrespect that young deputy. The deputy has since also issued a speeding ticket to go along with the impersonation charge.”
He said the case remains active and under investigation, and he is trying to determine if the Chevy Tahoe that Jones was driving once belonged to the town of Brookside.
Attempts to reach Brookside officials were unsuccessful.
“It’s more important now than ever before that law enforcement maintain high levels of professionalism and integrity,” Turman said.
Jones built Brookside’s police department from a sleepy, one-man agency to an intimidating force of 14 between 2018 and this year. He resigned Jan. 25, six days after AL.com detailed how the department preyed on drivers, and came to use fines and forfeitures to supply half the tiny town’s income.
It is the second time in four days a former Brookside police officer has been jailed. Officer Deshawn Mark Cook, who worked in Brookside as recently as Thursday, was arrested Friday on charges of first degree rape stemming from 2021. He was released after posting $20,000 bail.
More than half the Brookside officers resigned or were fired this year as more and more people came forward to tell their stories about mistreatment in Brookside. The town’s own investigator said police under Jones sought out those who they believed could not put up a fight – poor people in particular, and those who had previous run-ins with the law. Police stacked fines on them, often towed their cars and generated revenue that went right back into the police department.
The Alabama Legislature this session passed a bill in response to Brookside that would cap at 10 percent the amount of revenue from fines and fees that a municipality can take in. The town now faces 13 lawsuits. An audit by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts last week issued a report citing Brookside for myriad errors, including poor financial controls, missing guns and guns with no explanation. And local court officials have thrown out or called into question more than 100 cases involving Brookside police.