Lancaster police chief resigns -- again

August 05, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - For the second time since joining the Lancaster Police Department, Russell Preston is resigning as police chief.

Preston, who has been chief since July 12, 1997, surprised Mayor Billy Moss and council members with his announcement during a closed door session Monday night.

"It kind of shocked me a little bit," said Moss.

"It's kind of a shock I hate to see him resign as chief," said council member Jesse Wagoner, who served as a patrolman when Preston was chief from 1994 to 1996. "I never had a problem with him during those 2 years," said Wagoner.

Preston says he wants to resign effect midnight Wednesday but remain with the force as an officer. He announced his resignation to the council following a 30-minute closed door meeting that was listed on the agenda as "Executive session to discuss personnel."


Preston asked the council to consider naming one of the two sergeants in the department, Wanda Shelton or Willie Skeens as interim chief. Shelton has been with the force since 1998 and Skeens since 2000.

Preston exited the council room, then returned several minutes later with his signed letter of resignation. He then left the building.

Moss would not say whether Preston gave a reason for his resignation. "I would prefer you ask him," said Moss.

Efforts to contact Preston by press time were unsuccessful.

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