The new chief of the Meridian Police Department had his first day on the job Wednesday.
The hiring of Lee Shelbourn has been controversial, as some in the African American community were not happy with the way that former chief Benny Dubose was let go by Mayor Cheri Barry.
Shelbourn says he has been meeting with police personnel throughout the day, informing them that no major changes will be made immediately. He says he needs time to observe the community and then make decisions based on what is best for it.
"I just want the people to know this city has a chief that cares about the citizens," said Shelbourn. "Everyone will be treated fairly. We will do the best we can with what we have to work with to make sure we provide a quality service."
Shelbourn says he is the type of leader that reacts in a proactive manner rather than reactive. And one of his main concerns is making sure accountability is a priority within the department.
Despite all of the controversy that has surrounded Shelbourn's hiring, there appears to be no hard feelings between the two.
Dubose said he plans to stay on for a couple of days to help Shelbourn get acclimated to his new job. He was with Shelbourn for his swearing in ceremony and says he's impressed with the new chief's reputation.
"Straight up guy. Treats everybody fair. Treats everybody the same, in my experience. He didn't come in here saying he knew everything. He asked questions," said Dubose. "We talked about procedures and so forth. "
Dubose had served as Meridian police chief since 2002. He says he plans to spend at least a few weeks relaxing before deciding what to do next.