High-Ranking MPD Supervisor Demoted; Allegedly Ordered Officers Not to Respond to Shootings

MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — MPD documents show Ray Robertson is facing disciplinary action for allegedly screening 911 calls and ordering the officers in his squadron not to respond to shootings.

“There has been disciplinary action taken on a specific supervisor in the police department who changed the rules basically about responding to shots being fired,” MPD Chief James Barber said. “We understand that what we do is dangerous and there’s a lot of risk to responding to shots being fired in an area. But, the bottom line is, we have to respond.”

Barber said he demoted Robertson from Lieutenant to Corporal, but Robertson has filed an appeal to defend his actions.

According to the report, the maximum action for the charges brought against Robertson is termination and the minimum is 40 hours suspension without pay.

According to the report, “Lieutenant Robertson ordered his sergeants to telephone dispatchers and screen calls for service of shots fired before they could be dispatched as governed by the Communication Unit operating procedures and Department procedures. Lieutenant Robertson’s verbal order regarding the handling of shots fired complaints caused units delay in their response, or in the case of two complaints cited in this investigation, caused units to fail to respond to the complaints at all.”

The documents are dated November 11, which is shortly after Mobile’s deadliest month for homicides in 2016.

Barber said he believes Robertson’s actions may have been the result of “concerns across this country;” something that has been dubbed the Ferguson Effect by scholars.



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