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Natchez police chief retires, BOA announces interim replacement
from Staff Reports - NEWS
May 9, 2017 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey
 
NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Board of Aldermen appointed an interim Natchez police chief Tuesday to replace Daniel White, who’s retiring after aldermen considered a move to force him out amid rising concerns about how the city combats crime.

Natchez Police Department patrol shift supervisor Shawn King will serve as temporary chief while city leaders search for someone to take charge of the NPD.

After closing the public out of a meeting with White and Mayor Darryl Grennell on Tuesday, the board in open session with little explanation accepted White’s resignation and appointed King as his interim replacement.

The board was split 3-2 on approving White’s resignation. 

The Natchez Civil Service Commission will later seek and review applicants for the NPD chief’s job. Aldermen will decide who to permanently appoint.

White, who’s been police chief since 2012, decided to end his three-decade career with the NPD after an effort was made to fire him last week. The Board of Aldermen, after a closed-door meeting Thursday, postponed a decision on Alderman Billie Joe Frazier’s motion to force White out. A day later, White said he will retire.

“I am sorry that Chief White felt that the only alternative left for him was to decide to retire,” said Alderman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, who voted not to accept his resignation and complained about how White was forced out.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Frazier said he didn’t want to “get in an argument” and so declined to rebut Arceneaux-Mathis’ criticism.
Joining Arceneaux-Mathis in the board’s 3-2 vote was Alderman Felicia Irving. Aldermen Sarah Carter Smith and Dan Dillard joined Frazier in accepting White’s resignation. Alderman Ben Davis was absent.
 
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Cathedral School parents are worried about rising crime and speeding motorists around their Martin Luther King Street campus. The Rev. David O’Connor, pastor of St. Mary Basilica, expressed those worries to the Natchez Board of Aldermen and mayor Tuesday. He asked them to have a manned Natchez police car near the 670-student Catholic school during peak school-day periods to deter lawbreakers. The board and mayor made no commitment to this at Tuesday’s meeting.

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A survey done for the Natchez mayor’s crime task force shows most people who answered think crime prevention and safety is more important than job creation, new schools and recreation improvements for local government to address. Task force co-chairman Jessica Stubbs told the Board of Aldermen that about 555 people answered the online survey via the Nextdoor social network in Natchez.

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A part of Commerce Street in downtown Natchez will be closed off on Saturdays this summer for a farmers market that will offer fresh produce, baked goods and other handmade items.

The market is set to begin June 3 and continue through August, according to city Community Development Director James Johnston. Commerce Street in front of the Historic Natchez Foundation between Main and State streets will blocked off each Saturday.

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Regulations are being developed to control drinkers wanting to legally walk around downtown Natchez with booze in their hands.  A new state “go-cup” law for Natchez takes effect July 1. The rules for how Natchez will implement this are being ironed out by city Planning Director Rico Giani for the Board of Aldermen to adopt. Giani said the regulations – which will delineate the area where go cups will be legal -- should be written before July.

The board will also be reviewing a ban on new downtown bars that was mistakenly written into the city development rules governing construction and land use in Natchez. During a complete rewrite of the city’s development code in 2014, “miscommunication” resulted in this unintentional prohibition, Giani said.




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