D'Iberville is about to set up its own police department. In fact, Monday was the deadline for D'Iberville police chief candidates to submit their applications.
Now that city leaders know who's interested in the police chief position, they can sort through the applications, and narrow down their search. Within a week, D'Iberville expects to hire a chief to oversee a brand new police force.
Right now, any police call in D'Iberville is answered by one of the 18 Harrison County sheriff's deputies assigned to the city. Walter Keck has been on the D'Iberville beat for 17 years.
"I consider this my city," Keck said outside the D'Iberville law enforcement substation.
His city is about to hire its first police chief. And Lieutenant Keck is on the search committee. He said he would look for a candidate who was "qualified, and dedicated to do a fantastic job here in the city."
D'Iberville City Manager Richard Rose called the search "an historical milestone in our history." It's one that Rose is taking very seriously.
"Not many cities in America get this opportunity to start a police department from scratch," he said.
There was a time 19 years ago, right after D'Iberville incorporated, that finding a police chief seemed impossible. Now, Rose has a folder filled with police chief applications. And next Tuesday, he's hoping one of the applicants will be ratified by the city council to run the day-to-day operations of a brand new police force.
"We just see that this is a terrific opportunity for us to be independent, to be consistent with the other municipalities, and work well with them," the city manager said.
Several of the D'Iberville deputies said they would like to be considered for jobs on the new police force. That list could include Lieutenant Keck. Because D'Iberville is setting up its own law enforcement department, Keck said, "I believe the city will be better because of it."
The police chief's first job will be to map out what D'Iberville will need to create its own police force. Until those details are worked out, the city will keep its interlocal agreement with Harrison County, meaning deputies will continue to provide police protection in D'Iberville's.