A judicial police officer was terminated after sharing footage of a high-ranking county official speeding in a municipal vehicle, but his supervisors are saying the now-former employee violated departmental policies and the situation is being misrepresented.
Last week, officer Mike Anderson submitted a video to NBC 15 he and his wife captured of Mobile County Deputy Administrator Glenn Hodge traveling at nearly 90 miles per hour in a county owned vehicle on Interstate 10.
Lagniappe has so far been unable to reach Anderson for comment.
Hodge doesn’t deny exceeding the posted speed limit but says he was only doing so to slow down another speeding motorist he claims was posing “a danger” on the roadway. According to Hodge, he caught up to the unidentified motorist and flashed blue lights installed in his vehicle.
In his executive position with the county, Hodge oversees a number of administrative functions but also serves a quasi law enforcement role in animal control and as an environmental inspector. To perform those duties, he was deputized in 2009 by Sheriff Sam Cochran.
He has been certified through the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC) since 1993. Hodge says that certification gives him the authority to arrest and issue traffic citations, but he doesn’t because doing so would require him “to appear in court.”
Nevertheless, Hodge said he has quickly turned on his vehicle lights while traveling several times in the past to get speeding motorists to slow down, but said he doesn’t usually pull anyone over.
As he was slowing the unidentified motorist on I-10 last Thursday evening, Hodge said a second vehicle sped up and eventually passed him while a female passenger filmed his vehicle with a cellphone.
That vehicle was occupied by Anderson and his wife, who films the speedometer in their vehicle and Hodge’s SUV to prove both vehicles were traveling at least 90 mph. At the time, Anderson was employed as a police officer with the 13th Judicial Circuit in Mobile County.
According to Hodge, he got behind Anderson’s vehicle and engaged his lights a second time to “slow him down” when Anderson pulled over. Though he claims he didn’t intend to make a stop, Hodge pulled over behind Anderson’s vehicle — leaving his lights on “for safety,” he says.
Though he was wearing a Mobile County Sheriff’s Office hat at the time, Hodge is not employed by MCSO directly and is not a full time deputy. MCSO spokeswoman Lori Myles did confirm Hodge was deputized in 1993 and again in 2009 and has up-to-date APOSTC certifications.
In the video Anderson released to NBC 15, Hodge is seen approaching his passenger window — in an alleged attempt “to get out and explain what had happened.” Hodge said he’d seen them filming his driving and assumed they thought he was doing something wrong.
In nearly eight minutes of footage, Hodge mentioned his APOSTC certification but makes no representation he’s a MCSO deputy.
Anderson complained about Hodge’s speed for several minutes and said he saw him speeding before he attempted to slow down the first vehicle.
Anderson says he intended to turn over the video he’d taken to MCSO’s Internal Affairs unit. Hodge questioned why Anderson felt the need to do that but did not object.
The incident ended calmly and Anderson was not issued any kind of citation. However, immediately afterward, Hodge says he contacted Anderson’s supervisor, Judicial Police Chief Charles Dube.
Hodge said he called to tell Dube he’d “had a strange interaction with one of his officers” and to let him know why someone might be filing a complaint. He claims he didn’t encourage Dube to take any kind of punitive action and told him instead to give Anderson the “benefit of the doubt.”
“From Mr. Anderson’s perspective, that’s what he saw,” he added. “I’m not rebutting anything because that’s what he saw.”
Whatever was said during the phone call, Dube terminated Anderson the next day for “conduct unbecoming an officer.” Attempts to reach Dube for further explanation have been unsuccessful.
Anderson’s termination occurred after he submitted video from his roadside encounter with Hodge to local media but before he filed a formal complaint with the MCSO, according to statements from Myles and Mobile County Public spokeswoman Katherine Eddy.
That complaint was officially filed March 23 and Myles said it’s currently being investigated internally.
While judicial police patrol and secure Mobile County courthouses, they’re not county employees, so Hodge has no direct authority over Anderson. Instead, court police answer to Presiding Circuit Court Judge John Lockett, who said he has no reason to question Dube’s decision.
“My understanding is that there was a violation of procedure. It was a terminable offense and that’s what [Dube] did,” Lockett said. “He runs a tight ship, and I have all the confidence in the world in him. I don’t have any reason to second guess his decision, but that’s about all I can say.”
While Lockett might not question the decision, others have — including Anderson’s family and friends. Over the weekend, a man purporting to be Anderson’s brother created a GoFundMe page to help with “legal fees,” though no legal action appears to have been filed at this time.
“He has almost 30 years in law enforcement and is an honorably discharged, retired, decorated U.S. Army veteran,” the petition reads. “I need all my friends to share and repost this to get it nationwide [and] reveal the corruption in Mobile County Commission.”
None of the Mobile County Commissioners have responded to the incident at this time. While Hodge is a county employee, he’s also part of the local merit system and is not employed at the pleasure of the commission.
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