UPDATE: Natchez Aldermen schedule special meeting to discuss police matters

Published 8:12 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen interviewed individually three candidates from within the Natchez Police Department for the Interim Police Chief’s position on Wednesday.

Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry announced he is leaving after Dec. 31 to be the Columbus Police Chief.

The three candidates to take his place until the permanent position is filled are Jerry Ford Sr., Cal Green and Justin Jones. Ben Hewitt another whom the city planned to interview for the position, declined.

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“He expressed appreciation for the consideration but has said he is not interested in being considered,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said.

No decision was made Wednesday. A special called meeting has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, to discuss police matters. Gibson said the city plans to have an Interim Chief chosen by mid-December before Daughtry leaves.

The interviews were conducted in an executive session, which is closed to the public audience and to the media. Under the Open Meetings Act, matters of personnel and job performance are allowed to be discussed in an executive session.

Each of the three candidates has the rank of commander at NPD.


Cal Green

Green, the first to be interviewed, said the interview felt “very conversational” and went well. She has a law enforcement career spanning 25 years that began at the Natchez Police Department in 1997. She is also the highest-ranking female officer at the department since Lt. Gail Frisby retired approximately 15 years ago, Green said. No woman, to her knowledge, has ever had the rank of Chief at NPD.

“Guys say women are the most emotional and I beg to differ,” she said.

Green said she would bring to the position a “calm cool head and less testosterone.”

“I think of myself as cool, calm and collected,” she said. “I don’t remember the last time I lost my temper.”

In 2004, Green joined the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and for 10 years was the only female road deputy at ACSO. She also enjoyed working with students as a DARE officer, a grant-funded program that Natchez no longer has. Green said she wants to see it brought back.

She rejoined NPD in March of 2021 at Daughtry’s request.

He explained to her his vision of community-oriented policing, “basically getting police and the community back on speaking terms,” she said. She has also been charged with overseeing officer training, the jail, court services and records as well as internal affairs.

If anyone has a complaint about an officer, Green said they would come to her.

“We take complaints very seriously,” she said.


Justin Jones

The next candidate interviewed was Jones, an officer of few words who enjoys working behind the scenes, he said.

Jones said he would offer “leadership characteristics and stability” to the Interim Police Chief’s position if it were offered to him.

His law enforcement career spans 22 years, all at NPD.

He is now the patrol commander and oversees the day-to-day operation of patrolling officers citywide.

“I want to continue to move this department forward with training, technology and service to the community,” he said. “I think there are ways we could do better overall and continue to improve. The department is still growing. We have some very young officers who require us to ensure they receive the proper training.”

He holds B.A. in Criminal Justice from Alcorn State University and is pursuing his M.A. in counseling at Alcorn.

“I’m three credit hours short of obtaining my Master’s degree,” he said.


Jerry Ford Sr.

Ford also offers 25 years of law enforcement experience, all of which were served at NPD beginning in January 1998.

“It’s a lifelong dream of mine to be able to support the city that I grew up in,” he said.

All three candidates said they would consider the full-time Police Chief’s position if offered to them. Ford said he would “absolutely” consider it.

He said he would bring “knowledge, compassion, and years of experience” to the position.

He currently serves as the commander of criminal investigations. He assigns cases to detectives, follows up on cases and victims, assists with interrogations and report-writing and makes arrests.

Ford said he received his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Alcorn State University and two M.A. degrees, including one in workforce education and leadership that focuses on employee recruitment and retention.

“I would bring in that expertise to the table and help them to recruit and retain young officers,” he said.

Ford said he feels more training and teaching of the department’s youngest officers is needed, particularly with report-writing and logging evidence.

“With the number of employees we have, the opportunity is here now to send people to get the training they need to safeguard our community,” he said.

Gibson said all three officers are “excellent candidates.”

“We are very, very pleased with the talent we have within our own Natchez Police Department,” he said. “We are very pleased with the caliber of these three candidates. It has made for making a decision that is very important to the City of Natchez very difficult.”

The aldermen did not discuss the candidates in an open meeting.

Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith offered the motion to adjourn the meeting in lieu of voting for a candidate on Wednesday evening and Alderman Billie Joe Frazier seconded her motion.

“I think that is a wise decision because it allows us to give more time and consideration to this and also to have more consideration of the three candidates to make sure the final decision made is the right decision,” Gibson said.