Former Gulfport chief will now lead Diamondhead P.D.
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 12, 2013, 18:39
Former Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford has been chosen to become the city of Diamondhead's first police chief.
He will be sworn in next Tuesday.
"The city council and I are excited about having such a highly qualified and well respected individual serving as our first police chief," Diamondhead Mayor Chuck Ingraham said in a statement Monday. "Chief Weatherford is a leader in community policing and our citizens will benefit from that."
Weatherford will be the city's first police officer on its payroll.
Currently, the city has contracted with the sheriff's office for police services.
City leaders said they hope to be able to make the transfer to having their own police department by the end of the year.
The first step in the process is hiring a police chief or town marshal, as required by state law.
City Manager Richard Rose said hiring Weatherford was "an easy decision."
Weatherford, a 29-year law enforcement veteran, had headed up the Gulfport Police Department since 2006.
He retired from GPD last week.
In his three decades in law enforcement, Weatherford said he has worked his way through the ranks from dispatcher to chief.
He graduated from the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute located on the University of Southern Mississippi, Long Beach Campus, in 1988. His law enforcement training also includes graduating the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course, 102nd Session, in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2002.
Weatherford said Monday that he is looking forward to the challenges of creating a police department from scratch.
"I'm not coming to Diamondhead to retire, I'm coming to work," he said. "This is a unique challenge and I'm excited and looking forward to getting started."
Weatherford said the first order of business will be creating the police department's policies and procedures.
After that, he said, he will begin working with city leaders toward the full transition for the Diamondhead Police Department.
He said community involvement is a key to a successful police department.
"Our goal is to be accountable to the public, from myself on down," he said. "One of the first things I want to do is go out and meet with the residents and business people to learn what their concerns and needs are. By working together, we can make a difference."
He said he wants to craft the new police department into one that is "effective and efficient."
"We are going to strive to be professional and work well with other departments," he said.