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New police chief gives fair warning to critics

By By Suzanne Monk/ managing editor
Feb. 10, 2002
Benny DuBose, newly appointed chief of the Meridian Police Department, continues to warn people in his public remarks that his plans for the future may make him unpopular in some sectors.
He does it quietly and with humor, but the message is unmistakable. At a press conference on the day he was appointed, he indicated that his decisions might put him crossways with city hall and with those who conducted a "whisper campaign" opposing his appointment.
DuBose underlined his message at a reception in his honor Friday afternoon. "I'm probably going to upset a lot of people, but it will be for the right reasons," he said.
Among his first priorities: 1) sending his officers into neglected neighborhoods with the message, "We are your police officers, too"; 2) working in tandem, as "one unit," with the sheriff's department; and 3) convincing the public that police officers deserve better pay.
He also had a tongue-in-cheek message for Sheriff Billy Sollie: "I'm going to ask Representative Charles Young to introduce a bill to make it illegal for the sheriff of Lauderdale County to steal my officers."
Quick takes:
Empty place: The unexpected death Thursday night of Meridian police officer Keith "Bobby" Brooks cast a somber note at the reception. Brooks, 37, and his wife, Mandy, had been married for about a year. He had a young son from a previous marriage. The flag flew at half-staff Friday, and police officers mourning his death wore a simple black band across their badges.
MPD mission: The police department's mission statement was displayed on a banner outside the station as people arrived for the chief's reception: "We value the opportunity to provide service that is courteous, responsive, firm, efficient and fair. We regard the members of our community as partners and indispensable resources in a combined policing effort. Respect for the individual worth, dignity and rights of all those we serve is the foundation of our department."
Nolle prosequi: Attorney General Mike Moore announced this week that he will not attempt to re-prosecute District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell for election fraud. Boswell was tried in February 2001; the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on three counts and was unable to come to a unanimous decision on three counts. Theoretically, state prosecutors could have asked for a new trial on the three deadlocked counts.
Murder indictment: Earl King Davis pleaded guilty to manslaughter this week in Lauderdale County Circuit Court. Davis was originally indicted for murder in the September 2000 stabbing death of Thomas Triplett. He was sentenced to 20 years, with 10 years suspended.
OxyContin case: A Meridian physician is under investigation by the DEA and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics for alleged irregularities involving OxyContin prescriptions. The Meridian Star has been aware of this for more than a month. But the doctor has not been arrested or indicted, and we will not identify him until he is regardless of what decisions other news organizations make.