Huff to take himself out of running for Texarkana chief post

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

&uot;Second thoughts&uot; may prompt Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff to withdraw his application for a Texas town’s chief position, despite being chosen as one of the top five candidates.

&uot;This is my home. I have family here. I love this community and the people,&uot; Huff said Wednesday. &uot;I don’t want to leave this area.&uot;

Huff said he applied for the position in Texarkana, Texas, last month because of rumors circulating that he would be fired after the new city administration took office July 1.

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&uot;I thought it would be prudent to look at other options,&uot; Huff said. &uot;&160;I was worried that (there) would be a lot of pressure put on me and the department to leave.&uot;

Since that time, Huff said his mind has been eased by the support he has received from the community.

&uot;I’m surprised, and I’m tickled to be in the top five, but I’ve received an extraordinary amount of public support and I feel a whole lot better about my position here in Natchez,&uot; he said.

Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said he first learned of Huff’s application Wednesday afternoon from Huff.

&uot;He told me he has withdrawn his name from consideration,&uot; Smith said, adding he was pleased by the decision to stay.

&uot;With all that’s been going on with all these constant rumors,&uot; Smith said he was not surprised. But, he did not expect Huff to consider leaving his family.

Smith said Huff told him he reconsidered taking the Texas position because of family ties.

&uot;He had second thoughts about leaving an area where his family is,&uot; Smith said.

LaShon Ross, personnel director for the City of Texarkana, said the city evaluated 56 applications before picking the top five candidates.

The city is a border town with a population of about 50,000, 32,000 of whom live on the Texas side. Huff worked with the Texarkana police before coming to Natchez in the early 1990s.

Huff said the pay in Texarkana — a minimum of $55,000 — is comparable to his current salary and was not a major factor in his decision.

&uot;There’s an advantage of being at home, there’s an advantage of being close to your family and you can’t put dollars on that,&uot; he said.

April Wortham contributed to this report.