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Aldermen approve upgrades at Brookhaven Police Department

The city’s police chief asked Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday to approve the installation of bullet-resistant glass in the front lobby of the police station on Hwy. 51 to make the building safer for employees.

Chief Kenneth Collins submitted two bids to the board — Glass Builders for $18,600 and Linton Glass for $16,243.02. By law, two bids are required for purchases over $5,000 but not over $50,000.

Collins recommended the lower bid and aldermen approved the contract 5-0. Ward 3 Alderwoman Mary Wilson and Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron were absent from the meeting.

Collins said the move came after a person officers had encountered earlier in the day recently came to the station.

He said they responded to a call of someone with a gun.

“I told my guys to stand down. We had cameras watching him, telling them every move. I told them to stand down,” he said. “Then he shoots himself, then drives to the police station. He could just have easily walked in there and shot everybody in there.”

Collins said the incident ended peacefully, but it might not have.

“This is something that I want to get done because when that cat walked in there after he had shot himself I just thought that it’s time because they’re not safe as it is now.”

A coded lock has been installed on the doors and the front door will be locked to the public at 4 p.m. An intercom system and video security will be installed at the front door, he said.

Aldermen also approved the hiring of two police officers at Collins’ request.

Ashley McDuffey was hired as a non-certified police officer at $28,084.80 annually and Charles Johnson was hired as a certified police officer at $31,010.31 annually. Both hires are pending drug tests and physicals.

McDuffey, of Silver Creek in Lawrence County, previously worked as a corrections officer at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. She has also served as a jailer and a reserve deputy in the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

She is a graduate of the Simpson County Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy.

Johnson worked in law enforcement in Jefferson Davis County for 18 years. He most recently worked for one month in the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

He is a certified state investigator with experience in homicide investigations and a certified narcotics officer.

“I love what I do. I’ve learned a lot. I’m looking forward to come here to work with Brookhaven PD,” he said.

Aldermen accepted the resignation of police officer Robbie Fields and approved the move from full-time to part-time on the police force for officer Jonathan Buie. Collins said Buie took a job in the oil industry, but wanted to continue his employment with the police department.