Marion, Va. moves on after police chief arrest

POSTED: 6:03 PM Jun 20 2013   UPDATED: 9:32 PM Jun 20 2013
Mike Roberts perp walk

The Town of Marion wasted no time showing former police chief Mike Roberts the door after his arrest on drug charges.

On Wednesday, June 19, the Marion Town Council met in executive session and voted to remove Roberts from his post.

The town has asked Lt. Rex Anders to run day-to-day operations of the department in place of former Chief Roberts.

This isn't the first time a Southwest Virginia police chief has been arrested in recent years. In 2009, former Damascus Police Chief Tony Richardson was sentenced to five years in prison for drug possession and distribution.

In May, former Pennington Gap Police Chief Bill Young was sentenced to nine years in federal prison for selling pain pills.

Marion Mayor David Helms told News 5 the town has already taken steps to assure a similar situation can't happen again. Marion is already looking at current procedures, and if any changes need to be made.

However, Mayor Helms said for the time being, law enforcement will be a team effort. "We'll be working with police officers very closely and with Lt. Anders and continue our excellent protection of the town. That's our goal," said Helms.

Town leaders are working to make sure the department's image isn't permanently tarnished. "I don't think our police officers have done anything wrong, and will continue our efforts in the same procedure we've done in the past," said Helms.

Helms told News 5 town leaders met with half of the police force last night, and will meet with the remaining offers very soon, but there is no rush to replace Mike Roberts. "We want to get through this particular incident, and the council will decide what process they want to use. Usually we will taken applications, and use the usual format of hiring a police officer," said Helms.

Roberts is out of jail on $10,000 bond, but is under house arrest at his parents' home in Saltville, Va.