Four locals seek police chief spot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2002


The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Following the May 31 resignation of former Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff, the search for a new department head continues.

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&uot;The application process is ongoing,&uot; said Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith. &uot;We will continue to take applications until we reach the July 31 deadline and will take it from there.&uot;

To date, 15 resumes have been submitted, but more are expected closer to deadline, said Kay Patt, city personnel director.

Both City Attorney Walter Brown and City Clerk Donnie Holloway refused to release the names or qualifications of the candidates, on the basis that &uot;the applications do not fall under public record.&uot;

But several local candidates were willing to speak to their qualifications and what they hope to accomplish if hired.

Mike Mullins

Natchez Police Department’s (NPD) Interim Chief of Police Capt. Mike Mullins has not yet submitted his application for the position, but he said he plans to.

&uot;I am actively seeking the position of chief,&uot; Mullins said, &uot;and will have my application in by the July 31 deadline.&uot;

Mullins, 42, is a 20-year veteran of the NPD.

He began in 1982 as a patrolman.

In 1989, Mullins was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Criminal Investigative Division.

He was promoted to lieutenant in 1998, and achieved the rank of captain in 1999.

Mullins is certified as an instructor by the Mississippi Board on Law Enforcement Standards.

George Rutherford

Before assuming his post as at the Vidalia Police Department, Capt. George Rutherford spent almost all of his life in Natchez.

A Natchez-native, Rutherford spent the first 30 years of his career at the NPD.

&uot;Natchez is close to my heart,&uot; Rutherford said. &uot;In order to do the job right, you have to care about the people you are protecting.&uot;

Rutherford, 55, began as a patrolman, but eventually moved his way up the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

When he left, he held the position of assistant chief of police.

If chosen, Rutherford said he will focus on &uot;community policing&uot; by strengthening the relationship between the department and the public.

Rutherford also said he hopes to be a &uot;more accessible chief&uot; to the citizens of Natchez.

&uot;There is barbed wire and fences that need to be taken down,&uot; Rutherford said.

Another goal is to build camaraderie within the department.

Jack E. Smith

Adams County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Deputy Jack E. Smith worked for the NPD for 24 years. In 1995, he retired from the police department and moved to the sheriff’s office, where he has worked in transport, dispatch and processing.

While at the NPD, he held the rank of patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

If hired, Smith, 54, said he, hopes to remove fear and provide the citizens of Natchez with a feeling of safety.

&uot;You can’t forget that you work for the people,&uot; Smith said. &uot;Our job as law enforcement officers is to make the residents of the city feel safe and secure in their home or business.&uot;

Richard &uot;Ricky&uot; Stevens

Richard &uot;Ricky’ Stevens began his career in law enforcement as a military policeman in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Stevens, 50, then worked at the NPD for 13 where he held the ranks of patrolman and sergeant. In 1989, Stevens left the police department and went to the ACSO, where he worked as a deputy for 10 years.

He now serves at a court officer for the U.S. Marshals Service.

If hired, Stevens said he hopes to boost the morale of the Natchez officers.

&uot;Working in law-enforcement isn’t always easy,&uot; Stevens said. &uot;As chief, I would make it my priority to keep the men and women who are serving and protecting this city happy, motivated and ready to work.&uot;

K. Robert Sullivan

If hired, veteran law-enforcement officer Robert K. Sullivan said &uot;community policing&uot; will be his priority.

&uot;We invented community policing in the South,&uot; Sullivan said. &uot;We live here and our families live here.&uot;

&uot;We serve our own people.&uot;

Sullivan, 55, has been serving the people of Natchez for more than 25 years.

He began his law-enforcement career at the NPD, where he worked for 20 years.

Stevens began as a patrolman and eventually reached the rank of captain.

He later served as chief of police at the Indianola Police Department for two years.

Sullivan now works as a court security officer for the U.S. Marshals Service.

If chosen to serve as chief of police, Sullivan said he will lead through &uot;participative management.&uot;

&uot;I believe in leading by example,&uot; he said. Sullivan said he hopes to have &uot;the best police department in the world.&uot;

He plans to accomplish this through active recruitment, intense training and leadership.