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‘Pap’ next police chief

Several weeks ago, Arlustra “Pap” Henderson was listening to aJackson radio announcer’s serious doubts about the chances of ablack man winning a city-wide elected office in the state ofMississippi.

In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, the assistant police chiefproved the announcer wrong by wining a landslide victory to layclaim to the title of Chief of Police. By an almost 4-1 margin,Henderson defeated Lt. Bateman Stilley 2,146 to 532, according tounofficial primary totals.

“This is Brookhaven, Mississippi. This was a team effort: notone person, not one race,” Henderson said as he posed for pictureswith family members last night at the government complex.

With no Republican or independent candidates, Henderson willofficially be elected Chief of Police in June 5 general election.He will succeed Fred McKee, who is retiring after 36 years with thepolice department.

“It’s been exciting,” said Henderson, a 31-year veteran with thepolice department. “It’s really been a blessing. It’s a wonderfulfeeling.”

Henderson said the most qualified and most experienced candidatewon. He was appreciative of a race that was not negative and forhis supporters.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one ofthem,” Henderson said. “And I thank God above all.”

Henderson captured all six city wards by at least 2-1 margins.He was especially strong in Wards 1, 2 and 3, where Stilley managedonly double-digit vote totals and Henderson got over 350 votes inthose wards.

Saying he was ready to keep moving the police departmentforward, Henderson said he and McKee had talked earlier aboutHenderson taking over as chief.

“I thank God for him and the chiefs I’ve had the chance to workunder in the past,” Henderson said. “I hope I can make each andevery one of them proud.”