Vote To Keep Long Beach Police Gets Mixed Reviews

Sgt. Bryan Young had hoped that the Long Beach Board of Aldermen would let the Harrison County Sheriff's Department take over the city police department. But that didn't happen.

"I'm relieved that a decision has been made, but I'm not necessarily happy with the decision," officer Bryan Young said. "Guess I'm just going to have to live with it, and hopefully, we'll get the kind of leadership that this department deserves."

Young says the sheriff's department would have provided the strong and stable leadership the police department desperately needs. He says he's tired of seeing too many chiefs come and go in Long Beach.

"When you've had five permanent chiefs of police and six or seven interim, temporary, acting chiefs, something's wrong with that, and I've been here going on 11 years," Young said.

Eric Deitrick says he also looked forward to new opportunities the Sheriff's Department would have offered.

"We were looking at pay raises, better benefits, possibilities for promotion."

But Deitrick says part of him is glad the police department is keeping its identity.

"Morale has already come up now that we've decided to stay as we are, the Long Beach Police Department," Deitrick said. "I think it will be a boost for morale."

The officers say after months of waiting, they're relieved city leaders finally made a decision on the department's future. Now, they hope they can close the door on the dispute and focus on moving the department forward.

"I want us to heal," Young said. "I want us to get back on our feet, and start copping again."

Major Randy Cook with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department is serving as interim chief of Long Beach Police until a permanent chief is hired. The starting salary for the new chief is $40,000.