Despite his 27 years as a Biloxi police officer, Bruce Dunagan never took for granted that he would get the department's top law enforcement job a year ago. As chief, Dunagan hasn't made many changes, but one thing he did right off was build a stronger relationship with the citizens his officers serve.
"You find you get better response from your citizens turning over information, especially on drugs and then you keep hittin' hard on the drug activity and they seem to be more willing when they have a good rapport with law enforcement officers to talk to 'em and give us that information," says Dunagan.
Dunagan started collecting information too about a take home car policy that he says wasn't enforced. Cars were going home with officers who live in other cities and even other counties.
"We reviewed it and many cars are now parked because not everybody meets the criteria. If you have met your probation on the department and you live within the city limits other than and there are exceptions. We created an exception form and that's reviewed through the chain of command," he says.
The chief also appointed a public information officer to improve communication between the department and the media. He helped form a police explorers chapter and the chief says expect more promotions next year. In February, officers who qualify will test for the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain.
Overall, Dunagan says the department is running just fine, with no need for major changes. He gives credit to the men and women who wear the badge and who he says have built the police force into one of the best in the state.