Jim Preacher steps down after pulling trooper over - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Mayor steps down as constable after pulling trooper over

Posted: Updated:

NORWAY, SC (WIS) - The mayor of a small south Carolina town who turned the tables on a South Carolina state trooper in January has given up his constable duties while SLED investigates whether or not he broke the law by conducting a traffic stop.

Jim Preacher said Tuesday that he agreed to immediately stop being the town of Norway's chief constable after council members questioned him at a meeting Monday night.

Preacher, who is still the town's mayor, is under fire after an incident on January 18.  A trooper pulled him over in the city's Dodge Charger driving 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.

After the trooper issued the mayor a ticket [read the ticket here (.pdf)], the trooper's dash cam video shows Preacher make a U-turn and turn his lights and sirens on to make a stop on the trooper.

"Can I see your driver's license," the Norway mayor asked the trooper. The trooper pulls his license out when Preacher tells him the reason for the stop, "Are you familiar with interfering with a police officer?" Preacher asked.

He claims he was acting as Norway's "chief constable," a title granted to him during a Jan. 9, 2012 council meeting in Norway. Preacher, who was sworn in as the town's mayor just days before that, makes $32,000 a year in that position, according to records. He said was investigating an attempted armed robbery at a gas station that night in Norway.

Norway has been without a police department since August 2011, after former mayor Cindy Williams sent a letter to the state's criminal justice academy, stating that Norway "disbanded" its police force because the town couldn't afford the officers.

DPS launched an investigation into the stop the following day. After reviewing the tapes, DPS turned their investigation over to the State Law Enforcement Division to determine whether Preacher violated state law in stopping the trooper. SLED is also investigating whether Preacher had any police powers, since his law enforcement certification records show that his certification is "inactive" with the academy.

SLED turned its investigation over to the State Attorney General's office for an opinion as to whether Preacher has police powers, and the authority to conduct traffic stops. The AG has not issued its opinion as of this report.

SLED has not closed its investigation.

Related stories:

SCDPS releases video of mayor pulling trooper over

Mayor who pulled trooper over not SLED-certified constable

Mayor who quit in 2010 wins election by 4 votes

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow