Chief's Resignation Headlines City Council Meeting

There are still many unanswered questions about the sudden departure of Meridian's police chief after only seven months on the job.

During Tuesday's city council meeting, Mayor Cheri Barry sat and watched as two different people stepped up to express their disappointment over the resignation of Chief James Reed, and their concerns about the Meridian Police Department in general. The main concern seemed to be that Reed wasn't given a fair chance by members of the department.

"What is the culture that lead to the departure of James Reed?" Reverend William C. Brown asked. "That's important because the same culture could consume the next police chief."

Other concerns were expressed about the fact that Reed didn't give any real explanation for his departure other than citing personal reasons.

"I don't know what's going on at the police department," Meridian resident Lee Vinson said. "It's none of my business. I certainly respect everybody in that office, from the ones who walk the street, ride the cars, or anything else they do when they put that gun and badge on. But something has to be explained here."

City council members say they don't know any more than the public about exactly why the chief left. The resignation came just days after a Newscenter 11 report about him not yet being certified to be an officer in the State of Mississippi.

"Been discussion about certification, we don't know if that's it," Ward One Councilman George Thomas said. "But he says personal reasons, and that's all we know. Of course, none of the city employees report directly to the city council, so now that he's left, it's up to Mr. Reed to what information he wants to give out about why he's leaving the City of Meridian."

The former chief, at least for now, is not talking. Neither is Mayor Barry, who left the meeting immediately after it ended without speaking to the media. She has indicated that she does not plan, at least at this time, to discuss the matter further.


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