BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County Sheriff's Department stepped in to aid Bay St. Louis and its police department after the sudden death of the city's police chief, Mike DeNardo. Now, leaders are weighing whether to make more permanent moves.
During a public workshop Tuesday, council members introduced the idea to have the Hancock County Sheriff's Department take over patrolling Bay St. Louis. That would mean the current police officers would have to be hired on to the sheriff's department.
It's in the early stages of discussion, but appears to be a very viable option.
Sheriff Ricky Adam addressed the citizens and city council about the proposal, and talked about how well it works in Diamondhead, saying it would be a good idea for the Bay as well.
"We're going to save them anywhere from $300,000 to 500,000 right off the top, depending on how they tweak the contract," said Adam.
Councilman Doug Seal said with casino tax revenue flat, the city could afford to make some budget cuts, but Adam said the sheriff's department could only take about 16 of the police department's 30 employees.
"They would fill out the regular application. We would put them through our board. We do all our people like that. We set up a board and do interviews, and of course we don't have room for all of them, but we would take the best," said Adam.
Mayor Les Fillingame is not keen on the idea.
"I don't believe in fixing things that don't need to be fixed, and I think that our police department only needs a new leader," said Adam.
The city posted the police chief job over a month ago. According to Fillingame, they've gotten several applicants from across the region. He just wants to move forward with filling that vacancy.
"We've got a well staffed department. They're very well equipped. They're very well trained. There is nothing broken in our police department," said Fillingame.
Council members say they will continue to gather the public's input on the idea before making a final decision.