April 29, 2014

Former Mendenhall Police Chief Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Commit Extortion, Bribery, and Theft

JACKSON, MS—Bruce Barlow, 50, former chief of police for the Mendenhall Police Department in Mendenhall, Mississippi, was sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit extortion, bribery, and theft during this tenure as Mendenhall police chief, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen. The amount of restitution to be paid by Barlow will be determined at a restitution hearing scheduled for July 10, 2014.

From January 2010 through July 2010, Bruce Barlow instructed Mendenhall police officers to pull over motorists and find ways to gain access into and search their vehicles. He also instructed his officers to seize cash at every arrest, including arrests for misdemeanor charges.

When Barlow was interviewed by FBI agents on March 7, 2013, he admitted to stealing money and property and allowing others to take property seized by the Mendenhall Police Department from the victims after an arrest or detention.

As part of his plea agreement, Barlow agreed to make restitution to the victims of the crime and forfeit any money or property related to the crime. Barlow also agreed to never be employed by any governmental entity in the future.

“The job of a police chief is to serve and protect the public,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “Mr. Barlow made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it. This office will aggressively pursue allegations of public corruption wherever they lead, and this case should serve as a stern and sobering reminder that no one is above the law.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mike Hurst and Mary Helen Wall prosecuted the case.