VPD chief moves department heads around

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore has announced the reassignment of four officers to different divisions in the police department.

The announcement follows the development of a new organization chart Moore presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday.

According to a press release sent Wednesday from the police department, Moore said the changes were necessary to improve the Vicksburg Police Department and its service to citizens in the community. Besides the reassignments, Moore said the department will be adding another investigator.

“This is the first phase of several moves which I believe are in the best interests of serving the public, improving morale within the department, providing opportunities for cross-training, and for working more effectively and efficiently within the department,” he said.

“My life’s passion is policing. As chief of police, I want to make a positive difference in the lives of my fellow officers and the residents of the community,”

The changes, which become effective Aug. 21, include:

4Sgt. Jeff Merritt, who was in the department’s narcotic division, will lead the Narcotics/Neighborhood Enforcement Team.

4Lt. Penny Jones, who was serving as the department’s domestic violence officer, was reassigned as patrol commander.

4Capt. Sandra Williams, who has been the head of the department’s criminal investigations division, will serve as the domestic violence coordinator and will oversee all domestic violence cases and protection orders. Under Moore’s organizational chart, the domestic violence coordinator is a separate division, and Williams will report directly to deputy chief Bobby Stewart.

4Sgt. Johnnie Edwards, who served as deputy chief during former Police Chief Walter Armstrong’s second four years as chief, will take over the Criminal Investigation Division and will oversee the Narcotics/NET, Juvenile, and Crime Scene sections. Before becoming deputy chief, Edwards was in internal affairs and before that was in investigations.

“I evaluated the department for a month,” Moore said, adding he talked with deputy chiefs Bobby Stewart and Eric Paymon about the changes. “We had several meetings about the changes we wanted made.”

He said the domestic violence division was initially made a separate division under Armstrong.

Moore said he plans no further changes pending the hiring of additional officers. He said interviews are planned with officers from the Jackson Police Department and Port Gibson and the Mississippi Department of Corrections, who are considering transferring to Vicksburg.

He said the department is sending seven recruits to the Mississippi State Police Academy Sept. 10.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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