Meridian, Miss. A day after being appointed, Meridian's new police chief is revealing some of his plan of action to curb crime. In terms of his strategy, Chief Benny Dubose says one thing that he wants to do is reexamine the need for an MPD substation in the Reese Court Housing Complex. Instead, he says that he wants to open a police precinct in the Magnolia area near Velma Young Park.
"We can use our DART team and whatever else to address issues in Reese Courts," says Dubose, "but I think that the Velma Young area would be a better location than George Reese Courts."
Chief Dubose says the new precinct will be one of the things that will help to improve community policing and outreach.
"We're not using the precinct as a pit stop; we'll use it as a community outreach so that maybe someone who wants to can visit the precinct and talk to an officer, and talk about a problem they have."
Chief Dubose also plans to re-establish some programs that were in place when he served as chief six years ago. This includes the MPD Advisory Board. This was a group that was made up of appointed residents, educators and students who met once a month. He's also looking to reinstate a work release program which allowed city offenders - who qualified - to work off fines by cleaning up around the city.
Another top priority is increasing the number of officers. The Meridian Police Department is currently in need of more. In all, the department now has 85. The city's goal is to increase that number to 130.
'It's going to be very difficult to do to get them up to where they need to be because we're not going to accept just anything that walks through the door and wants to put on a uniform," says Dubose. "These guys are going to have to be committed to our ideals about what community policing is all about; what communicating with the citizens is all about , and how to treat people like people."
Although he didn't vote for the chief, city council president, Dr. George Thomas says he's supports any changes within the department that are positive.
"I'm hopeful," says Thomas. "We're going to support the chief in what he wants to do."