Veteran Officer To Lead Gulfport Police Department

Standing on the steps of City Hall, Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr announced, "A great privilege that I introduce to you Gulfport, Mississippi's new police chief Mr. Alan Weatherford."

That puts an end to months of speculation about who will lead the Gulfport Police Department. And the new chief is quick to give credit to the men and women who will now call him boss.

"I can't say enough about the men and women of the Gulfport Police Department and their dedication to the citizens during our country's worse natural disaster," says Weatherford.

Weatherford says one improvement he will make is looking at crime statistics and patterns more closely.

"If you have a pattern of robberies, you address it immediately. You don't look a week down the road and realize you have a problem."

The chief's job includes tough challenges brought on by the hurricane. Weatherford will try to find ways to get a new police department. Trailers now substitute for damaged buildings.

"I think the mayor, he's looking at that issue and he's spoken to me about that with Homeland Defense, so we're looking at that and I'm going to be involved in that aspect of it."

Weatherford says there are many officers in the department who are qualified to wear the chief's badge, and he is humbled that he will pin it on his uniform.

"It's truly an honor to be the chief and to serve the citizens of this community. It's an honor."

A formal swearing in has not been arranged yet. The Gulfport Council must still approve Weatherford's appointment. That is not on Tuesday's agenda, but council members say they expect to address it.