By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
VERONA – There is a new police chief in Verona and he is ready to plug into the community to make sure the city is safe from the inside out.
Police Chief Anthony Anderson started his law enforcement career 12 years ago with the Union County Sheriff’s Office as a road deputy and worked his way up to captain of investigations before making his move to Verona.
The first change Anderson made was to create a chain of command in the unit by making sure full-time officers are on every shift.
“If you put your full-time staff on, it sets a different presence with the community because you’ve actually got certified officers working,” Anderson said. “That was my initial focus. Other than that, we’re just serving and protecting the people.”
The department is currently made up of eight full-time officers and four part-time officers, giving Anderson room to have two or three officers and an investigator on each shift.
“In the future I would like to stress reserve officers,” Anderson said. “That’s something we will try to put in to place in the very new future.”
Volunteer reserve officers are members of the community who go through training and serve alongside full-time officers.
As he moves forward, Anderson said he wants to get involved in Verona schools, to establish a relationship with the city’s youth.
“One of my visions is to maybe have a program to help children when they’re out of school such as a junior academy,” he said. “The biggest thing is to work with our youth and everything else will start to fall into place.”
Anderson said he also wants his officers to focus on community-oriented policing, because, “it makes the job so much easier when you work with community members.”
Anderson was always interested in becoming a police officer, having family members involved in military and law enforcement.
“I just saw a community need to help and serve the people of whatever community I was in,” Anderson said. “It’s been a fascination of mine ever since I was a child, I just didn’t take the time out to go into law enforcement until 2000.”
Anderson graduated from East Union High School, got his associate degree at Northeast Mississippi Community College and went on to complete classes at Middle Tennessee State University before returning to Mississippi.