Former Memphis VA police chief battles for back pay

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- From the artwork showcasing old police cars to pins from presidential visits, it's clear Emma Chisom is proud of her service.

Chisom explained, "My career began in 1994 with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I was a federal police officer."

During her final years with the VA, Chisom worked as the Police Chief for the Memphis VA Medical Center.

She retired a year ago and lives in Florida.

Yet Chisom has spent much of her time, battling with her old employer.

"I have been really disappointed because I have not received a phone call, a follow-up or anything."

Chisom is talking about what she calls a lack of response from the Memphis VA over back pay for a uniform allowance.

A 2010 law increased the amount VA police officers were reimbursed for buying and caring for uniforms.

The pay bump didn't go into effect right away, so VAs paid employees retroactively.

Except Chisom said she hasn't gotten her money or an explanation.

"I am a veteran; I worked at the VA for 21 years serving veterans."

So, Chisom said to be ignored after repeated attempts to sort out the matter is unacceptable.

"The way they've responded is not indicative of how a veteran should be treated," said Chisom.

Yet Chisom said it is indicative of the state of affairs at the VA.

She continued, "That is not the VA's mission to ignore a Veteran's request, whether it's concerning uniform back payment or a health issue."

Chisom contacted her Congressman Jeff Miller, who also happens to serve on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Miller contacted the Memphis VA, and the administrator responded, saying they'd started the process to issue Chisom her back pay.

Months later, Chisom still hadn't heard anything, so she turned to WREG.

"I really feel bad that I would have to go this route to get an answer," Chisom said.

After the NewsChannel 3 Investigators got involved, the Memphis VA responded, and even asked about the best way to reach Chisom. However, the response wasn't what Chisom was hoping for.

Chisom said the Memphis VA blamed the delay on the fact that she also worked at other locations, claiming personnel data had to be entered on those ends too.

The VA wouldn't go on camera, or discuss Chisom's case, but spokesperson Willie Logan sent an email outlining similar information.

Logan said such "circumstances" along with a "retirement status" could "delay final processing."

However, Chisom said she inquired about the back pay before leaving Memphis.

Plus, that letter from the Memphis VA's administrator to Chisom's congressman said she would receive "any and all payments, regardless of employment status."

Ultimately Chisom said, "I would like to get my situation resolved."

The Memphis VA confirmed other eligible police officers have already gotten their back pay. Logan said, "Every eligible Police Officer who was here the summer of 2014 received the pay."

WREG also contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs about Chisom's case. The agency has yet to respond.