Decision on new Tupelo police chief due soon

TUPELO – A new police chief will be named by early December to replace the longtime official retiring at year’s end, said Mayor Jack Reed Jr.
“I spent most of last week both interviewing individuals and receiving resumes,” Reed told the Daily Journal. “My goal was to give a month to let people apply.”
The city announced on Oct. 5 Chief Harold Chaffin’s plans for retirement after 35 years with the Tupelo Police Department and seven as its top commander. An immediate search for a successor ensued.
Dozens of applicants from both inside the department and from around the state and region flooded City Hall in recent weeks.
Reed said he considered about 10 of those applicants serious contenders, but he declined to offer any hint about their backgrounds or qualifications at this time.
He said only that his pick will be “someone who shares my vision for community policing as well as who will protect and serve” and who “has a background and experience in continuous training and leadership skills.”
The mayor’s selection also must get a nod from the City Council, which by statute votes on all municipal department heads. Reed said he’ll speak privately with each council member before announcing his choice.
Chaffin, in the meantime, continues to lead the roughly 130-member department with a nearly $10 million budget. He said he isn’t involved with the search for his replacement but added that he’d be glad to assist with that process if invited to do so.
“This department means a lot to me, and I certainly want to see it left in good shape,” he said, “and I’m sure it will be.”
The outgoing chief declined to comment on his retirement plans.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal