Former cop named to Civil Service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2000

One of Vicksburg’s first black police officers Monday became the first former policeman to join the city’s Civil Service Commission, the board that oversees hiring and promotions for police and firefighters.

Clyde Harris Sr., a retired police captain who once ran VPD’s internal affairs and patrol divisions, was named by Mayor Robert Walker.

“For the first time, we will have someone who came up through the ranks of civil servants to serve on the commission,” Walker said. “He brings a keen knowledge of law enforcement to the commission.”

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Harris, 63, said today that he was surprised to receive the appointment, but excited.

“I took it because I figure I know what’s going on in the police department,” he said. “I know what kind of problems we have in civil service.”

Harris retired in June 1999 after 31 years. Former commission chairman James Rucker’s six-year term ended Friday. Rucker had been appointed by former Mayor Joe Loviza.

Walker said the board was prepared to appoint Harris on Friday, but delayed the action out of respect because Rucker was having health problems from which he is now recovering.

“I want to publicly express the appreciation of our entire board for the work that Mr. Rucker has done,” Walker said.

Rucker was appointed in August 1994 to fill the unexpired term of Col. Thomas Money, who had died. Rucker was reappointed to a six-year term that December.

Other commission members are Linda Sweezer, the appointee of North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young, and Joe Graham, the appointee of South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb. The next meeting of the Civil Service Commission will be Dec. 13. At that meeting, the commission will elect one of its members to succeed Rucker as chairman.

In other business, the city rejected the single bid received for concrete pipe and manholes, because the bid was discovered to be opened improperly.

The city clerk’s office will readvertise for the contract.