Diamondhead police force resigns, residents weigh in

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - The Diamondhead Police Chief and two other employees hired to help form a police department have resigned. Police Chief Alan Weatherford said he believes Diamondhead residents deserve their own force.

But Diamondhead residents have mixed feelings on whether having their own police force is a necessity.

Business owner and resident Russell Frank said, "As a young city, I don't think we need our own full fledged police force just yet."

"Absolutely, they need their own police force," Resident Mark Klockow said. "The main reason for that is because there are a lot of speeders in town."

Currently, the city of Diamondhead has a contract with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department for police protection. The contract expires at the end of the year, but Sheriff Ricky Adam told WLOX News he will extend it as long as the city needs.

"It took D'Iberville 19 and a half years to afford it," property owner Bob Ragsdale said. "I don't see why we should rush into it when we have with the sheriff's department. Works just fine."

"As a business owner I see them drive past four or five times a day now that we are a city," Russell said. "I see them more often, they stop in here and ask how things are going."

Both Frank and Ragsdale said if new businesses continue to open up and the tax base increases, then officials should look into the cost of starting up a force.

Other residents say the city needs a police force now.

"You have to make some sacrifices," Klockow said. "I'm one of the people that has got to bear some of the pain to start out. As long as we don't get too crazy with our taxes, it's not that big of a deal."

Resident Michelle Hough said, "We need someone to watch over our neighborhood. You really don't see that around here, maybe a couple on the weekends."

The two mayoral candidates in the June general election have both said it costs too much to start up a police force right now and they want to keep the inter-local agreement with the sheriff's department for law enforcement protection.

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