Meridian's new police chief, Lee Shelbourn, took the oath of office Wednesday, his first day on the job. Shelbourn was appointed by Mayor Cheri Barry, who took office in July.
Shelbourn takes the place of Chief Benny Dubose, who was asked to resign by Barry. Dubose was appointed by former mayor, John Robert Smith, about eight years ago.
Dubose said Wednesday that he's assisting Shelbourn in the transition. He described Shelbourn, who he has known for over eight years through the police chiefs association, as a "straight up guy who seems to be fair and treats everybody the same, from what I have observed".
Shelbourn's appointment has been opposed by a group called Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion, who say they object to not having input into the selection of a new chief, and have questioned his qualifications.
Shelbourn has thirty years in law enforcement, including service in the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He was Petal police chief from 2002-2009, before he was replaced there by a new mayor.
Of his own future, Dubose said after 20 years in law enforcement, he's going to take a few weeks for himself before making decisions.
"It's been a good career. I've enjoyed every day. There have been some problems; some difficult decisions had to be made," said Dubose. "Couldn't make everybody happy. Didn't make everybody happy. But I think I did a pretty decent job. I did the best that I thought I could do under the conditions. And I feel like it's going to be good."