COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Tony Carleton officially is Columbus’ new police chief.
The City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to make the former Tupelo chief the top cop in Columbus. He’ll make $73,500 a year.
Carleton has been interim chief for six weeks since Selvain McQueen retired in mid-April. He was one of two internal candidates who applied for the job.
Carleton stepped down as police chief in Tupelo late last summer after new Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton suggested he wanted to bring in his own chief as part of the new administration. A veteran officer and investigator who was head of the jail for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department before being named police chief, Carleton quickly was hired as assistant chief in Columbus and started last November.
At the time, many observers speculated he was the odds-on favorite to become chief whenever McQueen decided to retire.
With the job now his, Carleton says equipment and personnel issues will be his first priorities while meeting with officers and staff one-on-one and in groups to shape goals and priorities.
He also says he’ll begin in earnest moving his family to Columbus from Tupelo. And he sees opportunity in the Columbus department’s mix of veteran officers and crop of young officers hired in the last two years.
“Those guys are a great bunch of guys to work with. I’ve met all of them, and they’re just looking for someone to help guide them. And I hope we can do that and seem to work well together. But they’re really hungry to get out there and serve, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity there for the future.” Carleton said.
He is the city’s fourth chief in the last 10 years.