D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville made history Wednesday. The city's new police department officially hit the streets at six o'clock Wednesday morning.
The new police chief and his officers are ready to "protect and serve."
"This is an opportunity to make history. And I wanted to be a part of that," said Sgt. Robert Sidaway, as he cruised his patrol car through a quiet neighborhood.
He patrolled D'Iberville as a sheriff's deputy and jumped at the chance to help build a brand new police force.
"It's a growing community. The development of the Promenade and Sangani and eventually the casinos hopefully will move in," says the officer.
Sidaway says he shares his chief's emphasis on "community policing" and treating everyone with respect.
"We're people. So anytime we make contact with a citizen on the street, we treat them like everyone else would be treated. Be professional. Be kind."
"I'm going to listen to our citizens concerns. And we're going to respond to those concerns," said the city's new police chief.
Wayne Payne was hired a year ago to oversee the creation of the new department. He gives much credit to a dedicated and experienced team of 23 officers.
"That left jobs where they were senior officers and had seniority. But they chose to come over here and be a part of history. To be part of something awesome and challenging," he said.
For now, the inaugural police force is making do in temporary quarters, looking forward to new facilities.
Since Katrina, a trailer at the sportsplex has been headquarters for the sheriff's deputies assigned to D'Iberville. It is now home to the city's new police department, but it won't be for long.
The department will relocate to a former senior citizens building on third avenue sometime in January. That pending move is secondary; after all, D'Iberville is marking a milestone.
"Twenty years later, we've put the last piece of the puzzle together. The creation of the D'Iberville police department," says Chief Payne.
The new D'Iberville police department has 23 sworn officers and two civilian employees. Its budget is around one-point-seven million dollars a year.