Moss Point Police Chief Michael Ricks describes his visit to the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia as an experience he will never forget.
"It's a desire that most law enforcement leaders have... to go to the number one learning center for law enforcement," said Ricks. "To attend it and to graduate, it's like a dream come true."
While at the academy Ricks took courses in leadership, organizational management and media relations in addition to routine law enforcement training. Ricks says in the leadership courses he was able to analyze himself as a leader.
"It helped me to look at me and develop and sharpen my skills," says Ricks. "It helps you to think outside the box and helps develop people into leaders who can solve problems by new ideas."
Ricks returned to Moss Point with several new ideas. First he plans to create what he calls a 'learning organization'. This was a plan that Ricks come up with while at the academy. In a paper he wrote at the academy, he laid out his plans. As part of the plans officers would go through several training programs each year and share the information they've learned with others at the department.
"The entire department becomes a teaching mechanism," says Ricks. "When a new employee comes to the department no matter who they go to they will learn something and take something away from that employee."
Ricks would also like to see the city pay for officers to return to college to continue their education. Ricks believes more education will help patrolmen and detectives develop new and creative ways to do their jobs.
"If we educate our employees and officers on the streets they won't just look at what we did in... 1977," said Ricks. "They'll start coming up with creative solutions to solve problems in the community."
While at the academy Chief Ricks also studied Media Relations and plans to use what he learned to work with the local media in an effort to keep the public better informed.