DuBose: The man behind the badge
DOWN TO BUSINESS Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose takes care of paperwork at his desk on Friday. Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith named DuBose chief of police last week, ending a months-long search to replace former Chief Gregg Lewis. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star.
By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Jan. 27, 2002
Mary Perry sat in her West End Elementary classroom one weekday in 1963 and tried to persuade her shy, 8-year-old student to host a local television show.
The 30-minute program spotlighted classes at Meridian's black elementary schools; it aired on WTOK-TV. And Perry, who taught third grade, said the child was "scared to death."
The young student was Benny DuBose who became Meridian's new police chief last week.
And Perry was there again, this time as one of the five members of the Meridian City Council who voted in favor of DuBose's promotion from assistant police chief.
Perry and others including relatives, friends and fellow law officers say that DuBose's leadership qualities are firmly rooted in his quiet, determined demeanor.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie, who served as the city's police chief in 1993 and 1994, agreed. DuBose served as Sollie's assistant chief.
When he does speak, McCary said, people take notice.
As a child, DuBose never thought he would be a police officer. It was never a profession in which he saw himself working, he said.
When DuBose was 27, his close friend Jimmie Smith persuaded him to take a test to become an officer. Smith was a Meridian police officer for 10 years before being elected to the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.
After he took the test, DuBose said it was roller coaster ride from then on.
DuBose remembered his first day on the job as a patrolman for the MPD.
DuBose and Long arrested the two men in the car for possessing marijuana. Later, DuBose said, he found an automatic gun under the car seat of the man he arrested.
As DuBose has made his way through the ranks during his MPD career, Perry said she always kept track of her former student. She said she is proud of what he's accomplished.
DuBose laughed when he recalled the WTOK program he taped nearly 40 years ago. He remembered being a little hesitant when he walked into the studio.
But when the lights went on and the director counted down to air time, he said, the fear disappeared. All he remembers seeing was the boom microphone.
Perry said she knew that DuBose "would make it in whatever he wanted to do. It makes your heart feel good to watch your former students succeed like he has."