Changes made at NPD

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 23, 2017


The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — One month into Natchez Interim Chief of Police Shawn King’s tenure, changes within the department have already been made.

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King said budgetary constraints forced him to make cuts to both the overtime and vehicle repair budgets. King would not provide specific details regarding these cuts.

“Any administrator in any business or department knows that you have to work within your budget to try to make that department or that particular business functional,” King said. “That is my aim.”

On top of the budget cuts, King also said he restructured areas within the department because of a loss of officers in recent years. King said of the 46 positions allotted to the police force, only 36 of those positions are currently filled.

“We do have (a) reduction in shift, but that happens in every department,” King said. “It’s due to certain officers retiring.”

Specifically, King said he has had to redistribute responsibilities throughout the department to balance the workload. For example, he said Assistant Chief Capt. Tom McGehee was at one point in charge of local patrol, training personnel and handling the testing of probationary officers. King said in instances such as these, he has “moved responsibilities around” to lessen the workload on his officers.

Although King said while the department aims to have six officers on patrol duty nightly, between four and eight officers may be available on any given night.

King believes hiring new officers will enable the department to increase patrolling during night shifts. The department is currently accepting applications for new probationary officers. The department, however, has only received eight applications, with today being the deadline for submittal.

King also said he would, if necessary, patrol during night shifts and that other high-ranking officers would do the same.

“I, as the interim chief, have no problem with putting on a uniform and going out there,” King said.”

In addition to these changes, King shed some light on what funds will be allocated to pay the chief of police once the position is filled permanently. King said, to his knowledge, the salary will fall between a “scale” of $59,000 to $80,000, depending on the merits of the appointee.

King said his salary is the same as former Natchez Chief of Police, Daniel White. City payroll documents show White made $59,094.96 annually before he resigned.

But King said that the salary is a non-factor for him.

“I didn’t get in this profession for the money or the fame or the power,” King said. “This is the profession that chose me, and I’m dedicated to it.

“It’s an old adage in law enforcement that ‘if you plan being rich working in this profession, you’re in the wrong profession.”

King said although he has had to do some restructuring, he believes the department is running efficiently.