Metro-East News

Edwards out as Columbia police chief; no charges to be filed

Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards has resigned.
Columbia Police Chief Joe Edwards has resigned.

Columbia Police Department Chief Joe Edwards has resigned as part of a settlement with the city.

As part of the agreement, which the City Council approved Monday, charges will not be sought against the longtime leader of the police department, who has been on administrative leave since Feb. 12. Edwards turned in his resignation at the meeting and the City Council voted to accept it, according to Mayor Kevin Hutchinson.

Deputy Chief Jerry Paul has been promoted from interim chief to become Edwards’ permanent replacement.

“Jerry has been the deputy chief for a number of years and I’m sure he’s going to do a great job,” Hutchinson said.

City leaders have not revealed any accusations that led to Edwards’ ouster from the department. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department investigated the unspecified allegations.

Edwards could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Hutchinson said Tuesday only that it was time to start the next chapter in the department’s history.

“We’re moving forward,” Hutchinson said.

Edwards served as chief for 13 years, accepting the job in 2003.