Aldermen to interview four interim police chief candidates at special meeting on Tuesday

Published 11:34 am Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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NATCHEZ — After going into an executive session to discuss personnel matters Tuesday night, the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen accepted the resignation of Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry.

Daughtry has accepted the chief’s position in Columbus. He is expected to start there after the beginning of the year.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said Daughtry would continue as the chief of the Natchez Police Department until Dec. 31. The board took no other action Tuesday night regarding the police department.

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This morning, Gibson said the aldermen discussed a strategy for going forward and have identified four candidates who can provide interim leadership.

“We want to make sure we don’t end up in January without a leader. Dec. 31 will come sooner than we realize, particularly with the holidays,” Gibson said.

“We have identified four leaders within the department who have the rank of commander at this current time. We will have a special called meeting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. and will go into executive session and have interviews with these commanders.”

The four commanders in the city’s police department are Justin Jones, Cal Green, Jerry Ford, and Ben Hewitt.

“Depending on what the board determines on Tuesday, the board may name interim leadership at the Tuesday meeting, or they may need more time to make that decision. The goal is to have interim leadership in place by mid-December,” Gibson said.

“There is a desire to promote from within, and there is a desire to re-establish the position of assistant chief,” he said. “We are taking this very seriously. We don’t want to rush into any decisions. We want to make sure, one, that the continuity of leadership continues and, two, that we put the right consideration in for the future because the future is really what matters.”

Gibson said looking into the potential consolidation of law enforcement with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has been “mentioned just briefly in a few conversations” but has not been discussed by the aldermen.

“It was not discussed during our meeting last night,” he said. “Our charter calls for the chief and makes the role of the police department functioning in the city at the discretion of the mayor and board of aldermen.

“I don’t think the city has any desire to disrupt that order at this time. We aren’t sure that we legally can do that, but our city attorney has not looked into that,” Gibson said. “We are just proud of the leadership we have within the department. We have made great strides these last two years. We solved crime and put a lot of controls in place to ensure our police have what they need, but also made sure that policing is being done and investigations are being done. We want to keep that going. We don’t see any reason to disrupt that forward progress and go in a different direction.”