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DuBose on community input, staffing shortage

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 4, 2002
Even though it sounds good to hear that Meridian is statistically the safest city in the state, Police Chief Benny DuBose said things could be a lot better.
DuBose, the city's new police chief, met with The Meridian Star editorial board last week and discussed some of those problems and how he hopes to solve them.
Community input
DuBose said the first thing the department must do is become more community-minded.
DuBose said he wants to hear constructive criticism from residents like the group that complained last fall to the city council about crime problems in their neighborhood.
But, he said, some officers don't always agree with his approach.
Officer shortage
While serving as acting chief during the last half of 2001, DuBose said he tried to combat the shortage of officers by hiring part-timers to fill in some gaps.
The MPD is currently around 26 officers short. DuBose began bringing in part-time officers in December to work shifts that were not filled.
DuBose said one area in which the part-time officers can be beneficial is in the re-instatement of two-man patrol car units.
DuBose said the department was more like a family when patrolmen had partners.
Retaining officers
In order to attract new officers to join the MPD, DuBose said he first must get the current officers to be proud of and excited about their jobs.
DuBose said he wants the younger officers to see how far the department has progressed since its early days.