Police academy director takes TV job in Dallas
By Philip Moulden
The director of the North Mississippi Police Training Academy in Tupelo has submitted his resignation to take a post with the Law Enforcement Television Network in Dallas.
Capt. Mark Dunston, 33, who joined the Tupelo Police Department in 1991 and took over the academy when it opened the following year, is scheduled to leave May 24.
The academy is currently in its 14th training session and has trained more than 300 officers from about 40 Mississippi police departments.
“It is strictly a career move,” Dunston said of his job change Monday. “There was nothing about the Tupelo Police Department that led me to leave. I like it here and I like Tupelo. It’s a very nice place.”
The Law Enforcement Television Network is one of about two dozen similar public safety networks operated by Westcott Communications, Dunston said. The Dallas network provides satellite programming to about 3,000 subscribers. It also conducts seminars and other training functions for law enforcement agencies.
In part, Dunston will oversee the quality of programming and serve as an on-air personality in programs for the special TV network.
“Even though I’m leaving, if I can help anybody here in Tupelo I will. In fact, there are some training things I’ll be coming back to do in the next couple of months.”
The police academy was opened in March 1992 as a full-service training center. Its 10-week 400-hour sessions provide cadets intensive training in police procedures, firearms training and physical fitness.
Tupelo’s was the first academy in the state to be certified by the Mississippi board of Law Enforcement Standards and Training.
Public Information/Crime Prevention Officer Capt. Russ Witt said the department would begin looking for a replacement immediately, seeking applications from personnel both inside and outside the department.