New MPD chief to focus on community policing

Read

New police chief Chris Read said his number one priority is to re-establish the public’s confidence in Meridian Police Department.

The City Council voted on Tuesday to appoint Read to the position. He was a veteran law enforcement officer with the Meridian Police Department.

“We’re going to become proactive, more proactive than we have been in the past,” Read said. “We’re going to get out into the community. We’re going to meet with the community leaders and find out what their issues are, what they would like to see. And if it’s things that we can implement within that department, most definitely we’re going to do that.”

In the short-term, Read wants to increase the department’s manpower. The patrol division is about seven to nine people short, he said.

In the long-term, the police chief wants to increase the manpower of the CID division, the detective division and the patrol division. He also hopes to partner with federal entities.

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Several officers in the police department have been indicted this year.

“I’m not going to have corruption hiding behind a badge,” Read said. “We’ve been cleaning our house and now we have some stability. We’re going to move forward, and the morale is up.”

Read said that when city employees violate policies and procedures, “we have to take corrective action.” He added that those violations should be addressed immediately and not covered up.

“We all are held accountable to someone,” he said. “We’re going to hold those employees, those officers, those supervisors accountable.”

Read joined the police department in 1999 as a patrol officer and then became a canine handler. He then worked with the State Department in Iraq.

Read returned to Meridian Police Department, where he started and formed the first criminal interdiction unit in the city. He has also worked as a task officer with the FBI.

“We believe Chief Read is the perfect fit for this position,” said Mayor Percy Bland in a news release.

The police department has been without a permanent leader since former police Chief Benny Dubose resigned in January.

Interim Chief Lewis Robbins resigned in April and interim Chief Charles Coleman resigned in July.

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