Police Sgt. Rust resigns

After another lengthy executive session, the Meridian City Council emerged split on accepting Sgt. Curtis Rust’s resignation during the regular meeting Monday evening.

Rust is presently deployed with the Texas National Guard to the hurricane-stricken area. He tendered his resignation by phone, requesting a termination date of Sept. 20.

Apparently the lengthy discussion at the Meridian City Council meeting Monday was to determine the date of termination. Council members Liz Davis and Ryan Nieuwenhuis motioned to accept the resignation effective immediately, with appreciation of his service.

Council members Shawn Stauffer and Angie Buck opposed. Stauffer felt that because Rust was deployed serving the state, an immediate termination was not proper.

Nieuwenhuis, on the other hand, pointed out that Rust tendered his resignation by phone to Mayor Daniel Yguerabide. Nieuwenhuis heard of the resignation first through Heather Rust’s Facebook page and not through conventional channels. Rust’s wife posted that her husband had accepted the position as Chief of Police in Morgan last week.

With Alderman Cindy Wallace absent due to an illness, Yguerabide broke the tie by voting to accept the resignation, effective immediately. Yguerabide committed to calling Rust Monday night as a courtesy to confirm the city council’s decision. Yguerabide would also request the Copsync and MPD Facebook page administrator passwords so that Police Officer Brian Wallace can officially take authority over the tasks he has been doing for the past three weeks. Wallace has been doing the job of three police officers since Rust’s absence.

The application for patrol officer will be posted immediately, but it will be up to a new police chief to make a selection of candidates.

Another agenda item was related to Rust. He had requested his personal handgun which was damaged irreparably during a handgun training be reimbursed by the city. Rust offered an estimate for a new Glock 17 handgun for $651 with $400 additional features, primarily for cerakote camo paint job and logos.

Davis and Nieuwenhuis are not convinced the city is responsible for replacing a personal weapon. The city did not purchase the gun and the damage occurred during a non-mandatory training. Stauffer wanted some questions answered and did not want the item back on the agenda before Rust answered the questions and supplied additional estimates.

Questions Stauffer had were why the cerakote paintjob is necessary; how old was the original gun; why did Glock not repair the gun under warranty; what is the city policy regarding replacement? He does not think the city should pay for the add-ons, depreciation of the gun should be taken into account and if there is no policy yet, a policy should be written up.

In the end, Davis motioned to deny the request as presented and that the item will be submitted for the agenda again when all requested information is gathered and is presented by Rust himself before council.

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