Police chief: I’m OK; the citizens should be upset
Published 11:11 am Monday, April 10, 2023
Brookhaven’s voters should be upset over the City’s decision to move to an appointed police chief, according to Chief Kenneth Collins.
“I have about 40 years in law enforcement. I have nine years in the military. I’m OK,” Collins said. “The citizens who had their right to vote taken away, they’re the ones who should be upset. If you don’t like me, that’s fine. If you don’t like the person in office, vote that person out.”
Now the city’s final elected chief of police, Collins has two more years in his second elected term.
In the Board of Aldermen’s April 4 meeting, a 3-1 vote called for a new ordinance to make the top officer position one appointed by the Board, rather than chosen in a general election.
Alderman-at-large Don Underwood officially proposed the change. He said the pool of candidates for an appointed position would be open to anyone qualified, not limited to people who live within the city limits and choose to run for office.
All seven aldermen were present. Aldermen Jeff Henning (Ward 4) and Andre’ Spiller (Ward 6) also voted for the ordinance. Henning said the hiring process should be open “to qualified police officers from Mississippi and even across the country. The chief of police should not be a popularity contest. It should be the most qualified person for the job.”
Alderman Fletcher Grice (Ward 5) voted against. The other three aldermen did not cast votes — James Magee Jr. (Ward 1), who said he would not vote without having a chance to poll his constituents; Shannon Moore (Ward 2), who said he chose to abstain “because my heart wasn’t solely on taking the vote from the people”; and Rev. Charles Caston Sr. (Ward 3).