Natchez code enforcement officer arrested

Published 12:10 am Friday, May 31, 2013

NATCHEZ — Natchez’s city code enforcement officer has been placed on administrative leave without pay following his arrest Wednesday evening.

Willie B. Jones, 58, 4 N. Sunflower Road, was booked into the Adams County jail on charges of conspiracy and insurance fraud through an indictment from the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.

Jones was released later that evening on a $10,000 bond.

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As code enforcement officer, Jones inspects properties in the city for code violations including sign ordinance violations and derelict or neglected properties.

A spokesperson with the attorney general’s office said she could not speak about the arrest outside the scope of the indictment, which states that Jones “did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously conspire and agree…to commit a crime or crimes against the State of Mississippi” and that he falsified or concealed material facts in order to defraud Progressive Insurance Company.

Jones declined to comment on the arrest, directing all comments to his attorney, Claude Pintard, who did not return a phone message Thursday.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Jones was placed on administrative leave without pay Thursday following the arrest, and that the city’s human resources department would be evaluating further steps as needed.

Jones was at one time a city police officer, though he resigned in 1997 after he was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly offering another officer $260 not to follow through with a drug charge against an acquaintance. He later pleaded to a lesser offense, and in 2004 the charge was expunged from his record.

That October, then-Mayor Phillip West and the board of aldermen voted 4-3 to rehire him as a police officer, but Jones was reassigned to work in the code enforcement office in 2005 after the Mississippi State Board of Law Enforcement Standards and Training revoked his certification as a police officer because of past conduct.