New director leads North Miss. Law Enforcement Training Center

Dan McKinney is well-known in area law enforcement circles as a longtime firearms instructor and former Saltillo police chief

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – For cadets in Class 2024 B76 of the Northeast Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center, a typical day can include PT outdoors and classroom work.

And Director Dan McKinney is in his element, whatever the task.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

McKinney came through the academy more than 20 years ago.  He worked with the Tupelo PD and was also a firearms instructor at the academy.

He later served as police chief in Saltillo before retiring.

Now, the new director is settling into his role, overseeing the training of future law officers.

“It is something I’m kind of used to when I was chief at Saltillo. I understand it all fell back on me so we keep it. As far as cadets, they are well structured, disciplined, and moving along as it should be,” he said.

McKinney said he has seen a lot of changes since his early days in law enforcement, and he wants to instill some core values into the 12-week academy.

“Police are held more accountable,  not a bad thing, so we have to make sure they understand that they have to be held accountable when they are on the streets and actions they take so that is one of the main focuses of the new police officer, to understand and have empathy, compassion, and good common sense,” he said.

McKinney and his staff will also emphasize the importance of continuous training, through an officer’s career.

“You got to continue to shoot, PT, realize and read up on laws changing, there’s a lot of things always moving and always changing,” McKinney said.

Things may change in law enforcement from time to time, but the goals are the same, protect and serve, keep the public safe, and go home safely after every shift.  McKinney said cadets will be set for success when they graduate from this academy.

The academy also provides all in-service training for Tupelo PD, as well as other specialized training.

The next full-time academy starts in August.

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