By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
VERONA – Come August, Verona could be in the all-too-familiar position of looking for a new police chief.
Police Chief Leo Mask is the sixth person to serve as Verona’s police chief since 2005. Now, he is running for sheriff of Pontotoc County.
Mask was the Pontotoc County sheriff from 2000 to 2008 before losing to current Sheriff Neal Davis. When Mask took the job in Verona in September 2008, he told the mayor and the Board of Aldermen that he would try to regain his position in 2011.
Mayor Bobby Williams said the board supports Mask’s decision to run for sheriff and there are no plans at this time for a replacement if he should win the election. A new chief will be hired if Mask does leave for a new job.
“He has done a great job here and we’d hate to lose him, but we wish him well if he does win the job,” said Williams. “And If he doesn’t, then we will be happy for him to continue working for Verona. He has been one of our longest tenured chiefs in a long time and he’s only been here for about two years. So we’d like to keep him around if we can.”
Mask lives in Pontotoc and spends time campaigning, but it doesn’t interfere with his daily duties in Verona.
“I haven’t won anything yet, so I’m still the police chief of Verona and that’s the job I’m doing at this time,” said Mask. “The town has been very good to me, giving me an opportunity to be police chief here and I’d like to continue to be their chief if things don’t work out with my running for sheriff in Pontotoc. This is one of the best places I’ve worked.”
He also served three terms as constable in Pontotoc before he became sheriff.
So far, qualifying for the sheriff’s race are Democrats Mask, Davis, Tommy D. Corbin and Mitchell Waldo; Republican Shawn L. Shettles and independent Jay Allen.
The Democratic and Republican primaries will be Aug. 2, runoffs will be Aug. 23 and the general election will be Nov. 8.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.