Natchez hires private security

Published 12:22 am Saturday, October 17, 2020

NATCHEZ — A private security company will soon be patrolling the Natchez bluff and downtown areas after Natchez officials unanimously hired the company during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board of aldermen meeting.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the owner of a private security company approached him about providing additional security on the Natchez bluff and then invited him to make a proposal to the police committee and Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong.

James Walker of Walker Security, who was also a long-time health inspector for the Mississippi State Department of Health, would provide two security officers to work at a rate of $15 per hour between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily, which amounts to approximately $840 per week, Gibson said.

“Two officers would assist us in maintaining a safe environment for individuals visiting the bluff after hours,” he said.

Gibson said there is enough money in the Natchez Police Department budget to hire two of Walker’s officers through Dec. 31 until vacant police officer positions are filled.

“In the event that those officer positions are filled, that money may not be available any longer so this is a proposal for a temporary service that would last through the end of December and then we will see how it goes,” he said.

Walker said he noticed the need for additional security downtown while he was walking that area himself.

“I came to the city with this proposal because I am a resident of Natchez and Adams County and by utilizing the bluff area I noticed the need was there,” he said. “It would serve Natchez well to have some kind of protection in the downtown Natchez bluff area. The Natchez Police Department does a great job, but I know a lot of the things they’re doing take more precedence over walking that area.”

Walker said before coming to the city with his proposal, he put on his uniform and walked the bluff as a social experiment to see how people would receive him.

“While I was doing that, many people stopped me to say they were happy to see security there and that they felt safer,” he said. “I want to do something to help my city. I love Natchez and I want to help people fell safer. I want to assist the Natchez Police Department in any way I can.”

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said Walker assisted police in capturing a suspicious individual in an office downtown.

“Probably a month ago, Mr. Walker played a major part in preventing a crime from happening by being observant,” he said. “He encountered this individual that he felt was suspicious and he kept watch on him. He then found this individual in someone’s office about to harm a female in that office. He called the police and we were able to arrest this individual. If Mr. Walker wasn’t there, we don’t know what would have happened.”

Armstrong said having Walker’s assistance could also help deter burglars from breaking into automobiles and businesses.

“You can never have too much protection nowadays,” Armstrong said.

Alderwoman Sarah Carter-Smith made the motion to enter an agreement with Walker Security once all of the necessary legal documents were in place and the motion passed unanimously.