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Police petition asks for chief, endorses Benny DuBose

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Nov. 7, 2001
Meridian police detective Thom Bittick has presented a petition to the Meridian City Council endorsing Acting Chief Benny DuBose as police chief.
The petition, signed by 61 people who work at the police station, was presented Tuesday at a regular meeting of the Meridian City Council.
Bittick said he believes in Mayor John Robert Smith's ability to appoint a good police chief, but said the mayor is being "overcautious."
The department has not had a permanent police chief since early July. Former Chief Gregg Lewis' last day on the job was July 20, although he had been out on vacation for several weeks by that time.
The mayor was unavailable for comment. His spokesman, Maureen Lofton, said Tuesday afternoon that he had not yet seen a copy of the petition.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith said the petition will have no bearing whatsoever on his decision to confirm or deny the mayor's choice.
He said DuBose would be a good chief and said he would confirm the appointment if the mayor appointed him he also said he would confirm Capt. Roger Welborn, Capt. Keith McCary, Lt. John McAlister or an outside candidate if he feels the person is a good choice.
Smith said he thinks the appointment should happen quickly.
Ward 4 Councilman Jesse Palmer said he thinks officers signed the petition out of frustration.
Palmer said city leaders should give local people the opportunity to perform.
Ward 3 Councilman Barbara Henson, Ward 1 Councilman George Thomas and Ward 2 Councilman Mary Perry could not be reached for comment.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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