Before the year is out, D'Iberville residents should have their own city police officers patrolling the streets. Back in October the city hired Wayne Payne as chief of its newly formed police department. The goal is to build a force to take over the work now being done by the Harrison County Sheriff's department.
For school resource officer Lt. Shannon Nobles, it's not just about looking out for the safety of students at D'Iberville High. He cares about the whole community, which is why he says he became one of the city's first police officers.
"It's exciting," said Lt. Nobles. "It's a little scary starting from the ground up, before you knew what everything was and before you were comfortable with everything, so it's a little different."
Chief Wayne Payne says so far he's hired three officers for the D'Iberville Police Department. None are on patrol.
"Some time October or towards the end of the year, we will be taking over that responsibility," said Chief Payne. "We will be accepting applications some time starting in June. We will process those applications. The folks that are currently assigned over here will be given the first opportunity to seek employment with the D'Iberville Police Department because they know the city, and they know the citizens."
From painting cars to creating police policies, there's a lot of work to be done before October. Just how many officers will hit the roads will depend on a budget that's still a work in progress.
Chief Payne said, "We certainly want to be good stewards of the tax payers' money, but also we want to have a good police force in place with the right number of people."
Lt. Nobles believes the people of D'Iberville will be happy with the protection they get.
"The sheriff's department is doing a great good right now, but they have a big county they have to serve," said Lt. Nobles. "With the police department you'll be able to focus on the citizens of this community."
D'Iberville City Manager Richard Rose says the city is hoping FEMA will pay to renovate a senior citizens center into a temporary police department. Rose says eventually the city plans to build a new public safety facility.
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