22 applications submitted for Natchez police chief position
Published 12:33 am Sunday, June 18, 2017
by DAVID HAMILTON
NATCHEZ — City officials expect to begin reviewing the 22 applications for the Natchez Police Chief position.
The Natchez Civil Service Commission plans to meet Wednesday to begin the evaluation process. Chairman of the commission Dante Weir said the commission’s goal is to narrow the field down to five applicants.
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“Then, we’ll give the mayor and the board of aldermen those five, and they will handle the process from there,” Weir said.
Weir also said the commission would like to have the final five applicants by July 2 and have a new chief by the end of July, but Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he gave the commission no strict deadline.
“I’m not rushing the process,” Grennell said.
Both Weir and Grennell said a minimum of a four-year bachelor’s degree — preferably in criminal justice or a related field — is one of the main criteria to become chief.
Weir said while those without a degree could apply for the position, they would very likely not be considered.
“It’s basically a deal-breaker,” Weir said. “As far as the qualifications go, Human resources sends us those, and we have to follow those guidelines.”
Grennell said the position once required a master’s degree prior to his tenure as mayor, but he believed that was excessive.
Grennell also said he knows there are always “exceptions.” In addition to a degree, Grennell listed experience as the second main criteria that would be used to evaluate applicants.
“Experience can make all the difference in the world,” Grennell said. “I know people who don’t have a degree and are geniuses.”
Although Grennell said he has not seen any of the applications he thinks anyone with extensive police or military experience should be considered.
“I just want a really good police chief for the City of Natchez who will be a strong leader in the department and take it to the next level,” Grennell said.
In the meantime, Grennell believes the department “is in good hands” with Interim Police Chief Shawn T. King.
King is one of the applicants for the position, the mayor said.
Neither Grennell nor Weir would provide the names of the other 21 applicants.