Meridian Star

September 5, 2013

Philadelphia officials choose to wait on police chief decision

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Part of the agenda for Tuesday night's Philadelphia Board of Aldermen meeting was supposed to include a discussion on how to proceed in finding a new police chief.

    But the public hearing on the budget took up most of the time allotted and Mayor James Young said he and the Board of Aldermen decided to table the discussion for a later date.

    "We were tired after the hearing and we agreed the subject of the search for a new police chief could be better served if we put it off for one week," Young said.

    Young said the public hearing on the city budget did go well and was civil. Young and the Board of Aldermen have proposed doubling the millage from 10 to 20 mils. Young said several citizens and business owners took their turns at the podium to express their concerns. Young said it was one of the most difficult meetings he has had to take part.

    "These are hard decisions but the reality of it is we need to make this increase," Young said Wednesday afternoon. "I don't like higher taxes and neither does anyone else. But it is a painful reality of our times."

    Young and the Board of Aldermen must replace former Police Chief William Cox, who was appointed in November 2012, after Cox handed in his resignation a week ago. Cox is the second chief to leave the position within the last year after the departure of Richard Sistrunk.

    Cox accepted an offer to return to the agency where he started his law enforcement career at the Olive Branch Police Department. Cox is to be the head of the investigative unit.

    Young said a vote will be taken on whether or not to approve the tax increase Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. at Philadelphia City Hall. Young expects the discussion on which direction to take in searching for a new police chief to take place after this vote.