Sheppard is committee’s choice for Ferriday police chief

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — If a vote were held today, the Ferriday Town Council would elect Bobby Sheppard, a Vidalia police investigator with eight years of experience, as Ferriday’s next chief of police.

On Wednesday Mayor-Elect Glen McGlothin said he and a citizen committee had recommended Sheppard for the position. The council will still have to approve the appointment – which should happen July 1 — but the majority of council members said Wednesday they will vote for Sheppard.

&uot;He presents himself well and has all the proper credentials. He has everything one would need to be chief,&uot;&160;said Councilman Sammy Davis Jr. As far as incoming Councilman Jerome Harris Sr. is concerned, &uot;I’ll definitely vote for him. He’s qualified to do the job, and he’s a good leader.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

The recommendation has nothing to do with the performance of current Chief Eddie Newman, McGlothin said. &uot;It’s a changing of the guard,&uot;&160;Newman said of the new administration. &uot;I&160;guess I’ll do a lot of fishing. I don’t have any job plans.&uot;

McGlothin and new councilmen Harris and Mitch Ashmore will be sworn in at 10 a.m. July 1. The council will meet immediately to vote on Sheppard; Anna Brakenridge, McGlothin’s choice for town attorney; and whoever McGlothin selects for town clerk. McGlothin said he hopes to select his choice for town clerk next week.

Lake St. John native Sheppard, 43, lives in Ferriday but has worked for five years for the Vidalia Police Department. Before that, he worked three years as a Ferriday police officer — but left, at least in part, for retirement benefits and higher pay in Vidalia.

So Sheppard said one of his first priorities will be to push for better police pay and benefits to attract and retain officers. &uot;Many times, you get officers but don’t keep them because of pay, and I&160;can understand that,&uot;&160;he said.

McGlothin has said he is in favor of using some of a 3/4-cent sales tax voters passed last year to match a federal grant for new officers and boost officers’ pay and benefits.

&uot;I’ll also work to boost officers’ morale,&uot; Sheppard said. &uot;If they feel better about themselves and the town they serve, they’ll do a good job.&uot;

Sheppard is also in favor of creating more recreational opportunities for youth to keep them from gathering on street corners — a complaint he has heard many times in the last few weeks from talking with citizens about their concerns.

&uot;The majority of kids hanging out on street corners aren’t bad kids,&uot;&160;Sheppard said. &uot;They just want to hang out with the guys and don’t have anything else to do.&uot;

Sheppard said he will talk more with citizens in the near future to see what their crime concerns are and how those concerns might be addressed. &uot;Cooperation will be the key,&uot;&160;he said.

Although all candidate interviews went well, McGlothin said Sheppard was the best choice because of his experience, education and demeanor with the public.

Other candidates for police chief were Newman; Ferriday officers Terrence Williams and Frank Henderson; Bill James, head of security at Titan Tire of Natchez; and former Newellton Police Chief Ricky Williams.

Another candidate, former Ferriday Assistant Police Chief Raymond Murray — now a deputy with the Pike County Sheriff’s Department — dropped out of the race.

Candidates were asked questions on such topics as personnel, fighting drugs, community involvement and working with other agencies. Sheppard scored the highest, said Billy Rucker, councilman and committee member. &uot;There should be no problem&uot; with voting him in as chief, Rucker said.

Ashmore said he has not had a chance to get to know Sheppard and therefore would not comment Wednesday. Councilwoman Dorothy Johnson, a selection committee member, could not be reached for comment.