D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne will be the first to tell you; building a police force from scratch isn't easy.
"It has been a very awesome and honorable responsibility that was bestowed on me last year," says Payne. "And I have to admit, looking at last year I said I've got plenty of time and it's already gone."
But with weapons qualification day here, his officers are taking their last important test before they officially become the D'Iberville Police Department on October 1st.
"It's a proficiency course what we're doing today(Saturday)," says Payne. "We'll record their scores, and they have to attain at least 70 percent. Most of them have been shooting a long time. We have a lot of experience. I was very fortunate in the recruitment process for D'Iberville, and we have a lot of experience here today. So I'm very confident everybody will qualify today."
Taking over from the Harrison County Sheriff's Department are 23 sworn officers and 2 civilians who Chief Payne says have already put in long hours to make sure they're ready to protect and serve the citizens of D'Iberville.
"We designed the car. We designed the patch. We designed the badge. I mean had to do everything from scratch and build it up. It is very time consuming. All of us, all the command staff have put in anywhere from 6 am until midnight sometimes. It's long hours but once again, it's an exciting time for the citizens of D'Iberville and the police officers that are coming on board. We're creating history."
Payne and his force are excited, but more importantly, prepared to make it a proud history.