MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point's first female chief is celebrating one year on the job. So far, Sheila Smallman's historic appointment has been filled with lots of highs and lows.
"My goal is to make the streets and the neighborhoods of Moss Point a much safer place to live," Smallman said.
In June 2008, Smallman became first woman Police Chief in a city filled with drugs and violence. Her first big task was to get her team the tools it was lacking. Moss Point officers now have dash cams, radars and new patrol cars.
Smallman said, "The officers have to be fully equipped in order to do a complete job."
Chief Smallman said over the past year, the city's murder rate has dropped slightly, about 10 percent. She's also started a massive city-wide drug sweep to curtail the drug activity in the city.
"It's Moss Point Safe Streets. We go out in the community, and we patrol our own hot spots," Smallman said.
At times, those accomplishments have been overshadowed by controversy. Several claims of police brutality have come from Curley Clark, the head of the Jackson County NAACP. Smallman has also butted heads with outgoing Mayor Xavier Bishop about her job performance.
"I have never been a dirty cop, and I have always been willing to help the citizens," Smallman said about her career in law enforcement. "If my guys are simply doing their job and they did no wrong, well then, I am going to back them 150 percent. However, if they are in the wrong, they will be reprimanded."
Smallman said all the negativity has actually helped make her a stronger leader.
"Despite all, I am happy. I don't have any regrets coming to Moss Point. I am going to continue to do the best job I possibly can for the city and for my department."