Meeting the candidates for the Columbus Chief of Police

The Final Three

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – There is a new candidate in town.

Mayor Keith Gaskin and council members gathered at city hall to meet with one of the three candidates for the Columbus Chief of Police position.

Over the last 25 years, the Columbus Chief Police position has seen several turnovers, and community leaders are hoping one of the last remaining candidates can stand the test of time.

With three candidates remaining, Columbus City Council finished one of the last string of interviews for the chief of police position.

“After the interview, the candidate will be available for citizens to meet at City Hall across from the interviews. We talked to all the candidates and they’re very excited about doing that to meet the constituents,” Mayor Keith Gaskin said.

Although WCBI was not allowed to speak to the candidate on camera, the mayor gave insight into what he believes the city needs in its next chief.

“We are looking for someone who can bring community policing back to Columbus. We are looking for someone who will grow our department, someone who can help us prioritize in the department and also helps us find grant dollars to support the police department,” Mayor Gaskin said.

Community member like the President of the Columbus NAACP, Lavonne Harris, wants a dependable leader.

“We want a chief that wants to come in and listen to the citizens and listen to our voice because we live here, you are coming here, so you have to be visible. We need a person that is going to have character, integrity, and dedication to the training and the retention of the officer that is coming and be able to recruit. You have to have a relationship with your officers in order to keep them here,” Harris said.

While there is a nine-member committee created to search for a new Chief of Police, Harris expressed how there needs to be a focus on slowing down crime in the city.

“I want us to be visible, talk to the Chief, whoever that is let and them know what you are looking for them to do for the community. Hopefully, they can come and do something…crime is never going to be solved because crime is all over but do you have a plan to kind help eliminate some of the crime,” Harris said.

Though Harris could not disclose the candidate’s information, here’s what she thought of the candidate.

“Today with him was very awesome. I mean, he answered my questions. He had a downright answer for it; he had an answer for a couple of them and I was shocked. If he is chosen, I think he is pretty ready from the answer that he gave me,” Harris said.

The second candidate will be in town tomorrow, and the third candidate next Tuesday.

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