Brookhaven hires more police officers, approves PD tech purchases

Published 11:10 am Thursday, October 19, 2023

Tuesday, Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins announced his intention to request the hiring of four officers and for three officers to move from part-time to full-time duty. At the City Board of Aldermen meeting that night, those requests were approved.

The City hired Shardae Oatis as a full-time certified patrolman with three years’ experience at an annual salary of $42,000; Raymond (Brad) Gatlin as a full-time non-certified patrolman at an annual salary of $33,750; Myia Norwood as a full-time non-certified patrolman at an annual salary of $33,750; and retired detective Roger Wilson as a part-time Municipal Court security guard, non-certified patrolman, at $16.23 per hour. All hires are pending drug tests, physicals, and background checks.

Norwood and Gatline will be certified through the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy in Pearl.

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The vote to hire these was unanimous, 6-0. Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore was not present at the meeting.

The board also approved the move from part-time certified patrolman to full-time for three officers, each at a salary of $45,000 — Kanetia Simpson, with five years’ experience; Rashawn Tillman, with seven years’ experience; and Tyrone Crain, with 10 years’ experience. The approval vote was 5-1, with the sole “nay” from Ward 6 Alderman Andre’ Spiller, who said he voted against it because of the total number of hours the three worked at other jobs.


Police technology

At the Oct. 3 board meeting, BPD Assistant Chief Clint Earls requested the purchase of an intoxilyzer machine for the department to measure breath alcohol levels. The only such machine currently located in Lincoln County is at the Sheriff’s Office, and has been down for more than a year due to mechanical issues and a need for replacement parts, Earls said.

If the City could purchase its own machine to be housed at the Police Department — an Intoxilyzer 9000, at an approximate cost of $2,500 to $4,000 — it would be available to BPD officers — all of whom are already trained to use it, Earls said — as well as officers from the Sheriff’s Office and Mississippi Highway Patrol. When the LCSO machine is repaired, two machines would then be available to local law enforcement.

The aldermen expressed support for the purchase, and board attorney Bobby Moak was asked to check into the logistics of it. On Oct. 17, Moak said the State has placed an order for several of the 9000 models and that Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M, located in Brookhaven, may get one. If so, that may eliminate the need for the city to purchase one, he said.

“I suggest you wait and see where these will go,” Moak said.

Chiefs Collins and Earls had also previously requested the purchase of body cameras for officers, cameras in patrol vehicles, Toughbook laptops for the vehicles, and wifi connections. In a closed-door executive session, the board and mayor spoke with Collins, Emergency Management Director Chris Reid, Pileum Technology representative Andy Turnage, and City tech consultant Keith Mazer. Afterward, the board approved the purchase of the equipment, as well as moving the PD dispatch from its current iSums data storage facility to ADSI, the same system used by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the E911 Call Center.

“I congratulated the board on stepping up to do this,” Mayor Cox said. “It’s the latest and greatest tech to both serve our community and protect our police officers. Everything will be compatible with the new E911 Call Center.”

The projected date for the Call Center to go “live” is Dec. 7.

Cox said the City will pay $94,964.02 per year for five years to purchase all the equipment.