Justin Minyard

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Video: Columbus Announces New Interim Police Chief

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — As expected, the city council today named Tony Carleton as interim police chief.

The council also gave officers within the department to next Wednesday to apply for the permanent position.

A five-person committee made up of Mayor Robert Smith, Chief Operating Officer David Armstrong,, Human Resource Director Pat Mitchell, Ward 2 Councilman Joseph Mickens, and Ward 6 Council Bill Gavin will recommend someone for the permanent job within 30 days.

That could come as early as the council’s May 20 meeting.

Carleton is the former Tupelo police chief who left that job late last summer but landed in Columbus as assistant chief last fall. He and long-time Assistant Chief Joe Johnson have been running the department since Police Chief Selvain McQueen suddenly retired two weeks ago.

While Johnson had the title of interim chief for two weeks, city leaders had been expected to officially give the interim post to Carleton. The two-week period gave Smith a chance to discuss the move with some of the city’s African-American pastors and leaders before the council made the move.

Today’s vote as unanimous.

Since being hired as assistant chief, Carleton has been the odds-on favorite to replace  whenever McQueen, who had been with the department almost 30 years and chief for two years, retired.