DuBose moving MPD in right direction
March 31, 2002
Over the past few weeks, I've watched Meridian Police Chief Benny DuBose in public and non-public settings and what I've heard him say reaffirms my belief that he's the right man for the job.
DuBose is in his 21st year as a member of the Meridian police force, so he certainly knows this city and its problems. His heart and mind are with the officers and his initial weeks as chief reflect a genuine desire to tend to their well-being.
No lesser authorities than the Christian Science Monitor and, of late, ABC News are taking notice of his innovative approaches to local law enforcement. This is not only good national press for DuBose but also positive attention for Meridian.
DuBose is implementing a number of changes worthy of note, as he told the Kiwanis Club of Meridian the other day, including:
More visible deployment of the Direct Action Response Team to get in the face of the city's thugs and drug dealers. This reinforces a no tolerance policy for illegal activities and delivers a direct message to the criminal element that its presence is unwelcome.
Using city prisoners to help tidy up Meridian's neighborhoods. You'll see them out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, picking up litter. You can't imagine how much better our city can look when the streets are free of litter and, hopefully, we can all to a better job of it.
Using part-time officers who are already trained and familiar with Meridian to supplement a shortage of full-time officers. This move helps DuBose toward a goal of putting two officers in every patrol car, both for their own safety and public safety.
Requiring that detectives contact victims of crime within 72 hours for a status report on their case. This reinforces a message that MPD does care about what happens after a crime is committed.
Starting Monday, DuBose will implement an ambitious career-development program that, for example, pairs up patrolmen who think they want to be detectives with detectives already on the job. Patrolmen will get a front row seat on what a detective's job is all about, including unglamorous paperwork and administrative details. Other patrolmen will get a look at other areas of police work in which they have an interest.
DuBose believes MPD can ultimately train its own officers. A good program is already in place for advanced accident reconstruction (the program has graduated four officers) and qualified instructors are being developed in other fields, too.
DuBose said he is delighted that 18 applicants who took a recent police exam have passed the written course work. If background checks are satisfactory, they could soon join a department that is 19-20 officers short.
From all indications, the chief is moving MPD in the right direction.
An editorial I wrote for last Sunday's edition reported that Sen. Jim Jeffords, a Republican from Rhode Island, defected to the Democrats, effectively throwing Sen. Trent Lott out of his position as Senate Majority Leader. It should have said Jeffords became an "Independent," effectively throwing Sen. Lott out of his position as Senate Majority Leader and giving control to the Democrats. With Jeffords' defection, the U.S. Senate has 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one Independent Jeffords, who votes with the liberal Democrats.