New chief talks about his vision for Columbus Police Department

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Columbus Police Chief Joseph Daughtry is making changes and staying busy during his second week on the job.

He already investigated three shootings.

Daughtry is also restructuring the ranks within the department by creating a Deputy Chief position.

WCBI’s Winston Reed sat down with the chief to find out more about his overall vision.

That Deputy Chief position is designed to oversee community policing, civilian outreach, and animal control.

But Daughtry said he doesn’t want his department to get too caught up in titles.

He wants to squeeze every ounce of talent and buy-in from his department, while also building a level of trust with the citizens of Columbus.

Daughtry referred to the Columbus Police Department as a diamond in the rough, capable of reaching a high standard.

“At one point, the Columbus Police Department had over 100 officers that use to work for the streets of Columbus. We’ve dipped down significantly. My goal is to get that number back up,” said Daughtry.

Currently dealing with a short staff, Daughtry was impressed that 22 officers volunteered to participate in “Operation Firecracker,” a New Year’s Eve campaign that included two felony arrests, 52 citations, and three illegal weapons seized.

“They were excited and to listen to them talk in the roll call room, they were talking about making sure people that were going to watch night service, church service, New Year’s Eve were safe,” said Daughtry.

The Chief is also dealing with an already set budget, so he knows performance is key in terms of the next fiscal year in October.

“In this city or any city when you have economic development or economic push, there are two things that businesses look at when they look to invest in your community. They look at your school rating, as well as your crime rating. So we have to increase our police presence and we have to increase our officers,” said Daughtry.

An increase in production within the department means an expected crackdown on crime.

“I’m proud to say we hired six at the last board meeting and we have five that are aligned to go to the academy but on the 14th we have 15 that we are issuing the physical agility test to. And I’ve already told the board, it’s no secret, when we get up to what we’re allotted, 55-56, I’m going to ask for some more slots to start breaking off into specialized units,” said Daughtry.

Daughtry believes there are some laws that could be changed but that will only happen at the state Capitol and not in his office.

Chief Daughtry said he’s going to request extra positions to fill in the department so there can be detectives that specialize in juvenile crime and property crime.

He also wants to revamp the traffic division.

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