Natchez former deputy police chief remembered

Published 12:05 am Monday, July 7, 2014

NATCHEZ — Ed Easton was remembered as a man who spoke carefully, looked to help where he could and was always dedicated to fair application of by-the-book law enforcement.

Easton, 65, a one-time interim police chief who ended his career at the Natchez Police Department as the deputy chief after having worked his way up through the ranks, died last week at his Natchez residence.

Retired Lt. Johnnie Baldwin attended Sadie V. Thompson High School with Easton, and said his schoolmate was “the smartest guy we had in school” and was often smarter than the teachers.

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Those smarts paid off when Easton joined the police department as a probationary patrolman on a motorcycle. He quickly earned a solid reputation as a tough but fair officer, Baldwin said, and the department soon sent him to the Federal Bureau of Investigation training center at Quantico, Va.

“He was one of those hard-working guys who was no-nonsense,” Baldwin said. “They put him in charge of the investigative division, and he moved up in rank really fast because he was really smart.”

Easton was a good man who would go out of his way to help anybody, Baldwin said, but he was also a straight shooter with a solid set of ethics.

“Some people might try to sugarcoat a lot of stuff, but he would tell it just like it was,” Baldwin said. “I would tell people, ‘You are dealing with Ed, he is going to go directly by the book.’”

Capt. Tom McGehee worked with Easton in what was then known as the felony crime unit.

McGehee said Easton was a splendid man to work for, someone whose management was directed and purposeful.

“He was contemplative,” McGehee said.

“He didn’t just jump and do something. There was always a reason for what he did.”

In his later role as deputy chief, Easton was in charge of the city court, jail, maintenance, traffic guards and support services related to the police department.

Even though he had a full plate, Easton was always willing to do more, Baldwin said.

“Ed always showed up early and worked late,” he said. “There wasn’t any task too much for him.

“He liked to work on stuff, and there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. He would work on cars, radios or computers just to save money for the city.”

Easton was appointed as interim police chief in the period between the appointments of former police chiefs Eddie Jones and Willie Huff.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown remembered Easton as a man who was forthcoming with his concerns, interested in the community and thorough.

“He was not overreaching or power hungry,” Brown said. “He did his job, and he did it well. He was a good family man who moved his good personal habits into his management of the police force.

“He was a good officer, the officers like him and he served us well.”

After his retirement from the NPD, Easton worked for Independent Oil and Coal Company.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Marshall Funeral Home in Natchez.