FRIARS POINT — After Tracy Vance was terminated as Friars Point police chief, the plan was to fill the position, but the city council chose a different path in May.
Neal Mitchell and Fernando Bee, both candidates to fill the police chief position, were unanimously hired as full-time officers. Mitchell currently has another job, while Bee is an officer for the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office. Harvell McDonald, who is still employed on a part-time basis, was the only officer in the department prior to Mitchell and Bee’s hiring.
Mitchell began working for the department last week and provided a report during Tuesday’s city council meeting. He said Bee is still waiting for some equipment before starting to work.
“Basically, what I’ve been doing is both vehicles, we’ve got up and running right now,” said Mitchell in his report. “We’ve got other safety equipment that we’ve got to get for those two vehicles.”
A Dodge truck and Dodge Charger are the two vehicles.
Mitchell said he is getting quotes for equipment to help the vehicles operate again.
He added the Dodge Charger one of newest vehicles.
“It doesn’t have anything in it, no lights, no blue lights, no sirens, no cage – anything,” Mitchell said. “We really can’t do any stopping. The only thing I can do when I was in it this weekend is, when I see a four-wheeler flying up the road, I hold my hand out the window. Most of them, they’re not going to stop for that. They don’t want to stop for the blue light, so you know they’re not going to stop for that.”
Mitchell said he talked to Ken Gunter of the Mississippi Department of Emergency Public Safety in Jackson. He learned Friars Point does not have an Originating Agency Identification number and is in the process of trying to get one. That ORI is a computer generated number that will help the Mississippi Department of Public Agency learn information about someone’s criminal background.
“Friars Point has got to have an ORI number,” Mitchell said. “We’re in the process of doing that.
“The good thing about it is it’s not going to cost the town any money for paying that ORI number. The dispatchers will be able to run anything even though they’ve been running information for us. We want to make sure everybody’s in compliance, including Friars Point.”
Mitchell said he also looked at laws on auto vehicles about make traffic stops and controlling speed.
“We’ve got to get the vehicles operable so we can initiate the stops,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he has been to the police department down the street from city and started cleaning up the office.
“I’ve got to inventory everything that’s in that police department,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said turned the computers on.
At no cost to the town, he said he would have someone look at the computers to make sure they are capable of generating the paperwork he is looking for.
Mitchell said reports of criminal offenses will be given at every city council meeting. He added that would help when applying for money for the police department.
Mitchell said he also plans to get an inventory on the weapons in the police department with the help of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms).
“That’s fine, Officer Neal,” said Mayor James Washington after Mitchell’s report. “That’s a good report.”