Newscenter Eleven has confirmed with several sources close to the situation that Lee Shelbourn will be picked by Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry to serve as police chief. Shelbourn was let go by the city of Petal after a new mayor and board were elected earlier this year.
He has a reputation in local law enforcement circles as a straight shooter with a ton of experience.
Mayor Barry would not confirm that Shelbourn is her pick, but she did discuss why she decided to move in a different leadership direction.
Cheri Barry says Chief Benny Dubose has done an outstanding job for the last 29 years, but she's ready to move forward with a new vision and a new person in charge.
"My decision was based on the citizens needs. I want to make sure they are safe and I want to bring more vision," said Barry.
The chief Thursday told us he is resigning, and the mayor says she appreciates his decision. However, she says she had asked that he retire.
"He came into my office and I asked him to retire. When he left he told me he would help with the transition period and that he would help me the best he could, said Barry.
Both the police and fire departments will be subject to rigorous written and physical testing. Barry says the police department will conduct more community policing.
Both the fire and police chief appointments will be announced by Mayor Barry during Tuesday's city council meeting. All appointments will require city council approval.
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