Nick Calico, a 2019 candidate for Forrest County sheriff was one of six civilian employees of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop J Driver’s Services Division who were fired for changing scores for some test takers who were seeking commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs). That’s according to a 1998 Hattiesburg American article by Nikki Maute. The article quotes Calico’s then-attorney, the late J.B. Van Slyke, as stating that the dismissals were “arbitrary and capricious” because others involved did not receive the same punishment; one trooper was fired, but four others were allowed to retire. Calico and two other civilian employees sought reinstatement to their positions and back pay.
The actions on the part of Calico and others enabled applicants to obtain CDLs and operational hazardous materials and passenger endorsements, without meeting the required minimum state and federal testing mandates.
Van Slyke, Calico’s attorney, said that Calico and the two other civilians changed the test scores at the request of their supervisors and did so without accepting payment, “̒ but occasionally did get restaurant gift cards from their supervisors.’” The dismissals and retirements followed a six-month investigation into whether Division J staff members took part in a scheme to sell commercial drivers’ licenses and tamper with vehicle titles.
The article quotes then-district attorney Lindsay Carter as saying the case would be presented to the grand jury for a decision on whether to file criminal charges. The Hattiesburg Patriot did not locate any court documents to indicate that criminal charges ever were filed.
Nick Calico bases his campaign to become the next Forrest County sheriff on more than two decades of law enforcement experience. His “Pick Nick” page on Facebook lists jobs with the Purvis Police Department, the Hattiesburg Police Department and the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department.