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Armstrong takes over as new Natchez police chief
from Staff Reports - NEWS
August 1, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – New Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong brings to the job 33 years of law-enforcement experience as a state Highway Patrol officer and more recently as Vicksburg’s top cop.

“He has a track record of being extremely professional” Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said Monday after Armstrong was appointed by the Board of Aldermen to lead the Natchez Police Department.

Armstrong was selected from a pool of five finalists the mayor and aldermen interviewed in July, two months after former NPD chief Danny White was forced to resign. Armstrong comes to Natchez after himself being dismissed as Vicksburg’s police chief a month ago when the mayor and aldermen there began a new term in office.

Armstrong, who began his law-enforcement career in 1984 as a 23-year-old Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol trooper, expressed confidence in his abilities to do his new job. “I want you to welcome me as your Natchez police chief. I’m totally up to the task,” he told those gathered Monday to see him appointed and take his oath of office.

Armstrong in May was given the state’s Jim Ingram Lifetime Achievement Award from fellow Mississippi law-enforcement officers at their annual Top Cop event. Ingram was a former FBI agent and state public safety commissioner who oversaw the Mississippi Highway Patrol in the 1990s.

Armstrong served 25 years as a state trooper before becoming Vicksburg’s police chief in 2009.

Grennell on Monday presented Armstrong his new Natchez Police Department badge, which the chief noted is larger than those he wore as a state Highway Patrol trooper and Vicksburg police chief. “A larger badge, I guess, comes with bigger expectations,” he said.

Armstrong stressed that he wants to bolster the NPD’s “community policing” and meet with Natchez residents to discuss their concerns. “We believe the Natchez Police Department can come up a few notches,” said Armstrong, who noted more is needed to recruit and retain police officers.

“If we’re going to patrol the streets and keep Natchez safe, we must have officers to do that,” he said.

The Board of Aldermen has been warned in recent months that the NPD, with about 43 officers, is undermanned due partly to low salaries.

Armstrong’s annual salary will be $85,000, Grennell said. In published notices seeking applicants for the police chief job, city officials stated the annual salary would be $59,000 or an amount commensurate with experience.

The starting annual pay for a new Natchez police officer is about $37,300, including fringe benefits, according to information from the city clerk’s office.

The NPD chief’s post was vacated in May when Danny White quit after an effort was made to fire him amid heightened concerns about how the city combats crime. Questions were also raised about the hiring of White’s son as a NPD officer and whether that was nepotism. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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