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New Natchez police chief brings 25 years of experience to department

NATCHEZ — Natchez’s new police chief, Joseph M. Daughtry Sr., knew at 2-years-old growing up in New Orleans that he wanted to be a police officer one day.

His mother, Lovie Sanders, and other family members used to say to Daughtry he was the only child they knew who found his path “from day one” and stuck with it, Daughtry said.

He was drawn to Natchez by its similarities to his hometown of New Orleans. Natchez has a similar taste in food, music and old houses and buildings, he said.

Natchez also has the same crime issues as large cities, Daughtry said, adding he thinks he has the tools to help.

Daughtry’s law enforcement career spans more than 25-years.

Daughtry’s said his first law enforcement job was with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he began as a jailer and eventually graduated to the search and rescue team in charge of locating missing people or bodies.

Daughtry was assigned to work security at a variety of functions in New Orleans, from Mardi Gras to NFL football games, he said.

In 2001, he joined the Jackson Police Department as a patrol officer and later became a sergeant. Daughtry said he was the 11th highest scoring officer out of 267 officers who took the sergeant exam, which is comprised of both written and oral assessments.

Also at the Jackson Police Department, Daughtry worked as a mobile command bus driver, a school resource officer and tag officer at the training academy.

Before arriving in Natchez, Daughtry was the Chief of Police at the Pelahatchie Police Department and was elected by his peers to be the Second Vice President of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police in October.

Daughtry said his affiliation with a small-town police department and connection with the association helped him forge relationships with other agencies throughout the state.

“I became the voice of other small agencies,” Daughtry said of his involvement with the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.

Daughtry said a scripture that he has lived by since his childhood is Proverbs 18:24, which reads, “In order to have friends, you must first show yourself friendly.”

“When you show yourself friendly, people are willing to work with you and help you,” he said. “They know if they need me I’ll be there and it goes both ways. I have that relationship with chiefs throughout the state and on a federal level.”

Daughtry said he also thinks strongly in building relationships within the community and representing all people in it regardless of their race, background or financial status.

Daughtry has had invaluable training in diversity and community policing that has helped him to execute his work and teach civilians how to assist law enforcement by reporting crime and safeguarding their personal property, he said.

Daughtry’s goal for the Natchez Police Department is to “make a good department great” with more manpower and better equipment and community involvement, he said.

Daughtry aims to exchange the department’s worn down vehicles and equipment while being “a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” he said, adding more vehicles with fewer miles on them would help officers respond quickly to calls as well as help the Natchez Police Department appeal to potential new recruits.

Daughtry also said he plans to facilitate the establishment of a chaplain program to provide an outlet for those dealing with crises, pool officer training programs and resources with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and encourage young officers to become future leaders in the department.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Natchez Community,” Daughtry said. “I’m looking forward to meeting with all of the church pastors within the community (for starting the chaplain program.) I’m thankful to the mayor and board for trusting me to lead this department. … This will be a department that is going to make the City of Natchez proud.”

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