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ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) — Aberdeen residents may get a chance next spring to vote on whether they want to hire or elect the city’s police chief.

Last month, aldermen voted 3-2 to change the city’s 175-year-old charter by calling for the hiring of the chief. The position always has been elected. Since the aldermen’s decision, supporters of Chief Henry Randle are circulating petitions calling for a referendum on the issue. About 500 signatures of registered voters are needed to call for the vote but Randle is pushing for as many as 2,000.

Several ministers and other residents criticized aldermen during public comments at Tuesday night’s meeting, saying the city is trying to take way one of the nation’s fundamental rights and one men and women have fought and died for since the country’s inception.

“The petition is going very well. I am extremely excited that a lot of people have come out to sign. We still have the petition out and people are still asking locations,” Randle said of the petition effort.

A public hearing on the charter change will be held in early January and the petitions may be presented then if not before.

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