‘Citizens deserve to be safe,’ police chief talks to Rotary Club – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ – Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry informed and entertained members of the Rotary Club of Natchez on Wednesday, using stories from his 25 years of policing to talk about changes to the Natchez Police Department. Natchez aimed at ensuring the safety of citizens.

Daughtry also asked for the help of citizens to be proactive in order to give criminals fewer opportunities to commit crimes.

Daughtry, a New Orleans native, has served as Natchez’s police chief since December 2020. Since then, he has begun an overhaul of the police department, hiring new officers and replacing tired and worn equipment.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not going to tell you that Natchez is Mayberry, because it’s not. But we’re a long way from big city crime,” he said.

Daughtry said the Natchez Police Department is becoming proactive in its approach to policing.

“The days of sitting around waiting for you to call and we come to answer are over. I tell my guys when they’re 10-8, which means they’re on duty, you gotta get it. You have a job to do. Citizens pay you to do your job. Citizens deserve to be safe,” he said.

The number of officers at work at Natchez is higher than for several years.

“We have more manpower than before. We had three to four people per shift and that included the supervisor. Now we average five to six per shift. One shift the other night we had seven, but that included two who are in training. Once released, they will add even more manpower,” Daughtry said.

Police need residents’ help to reduce opportunities for criminals, he said.

“We had two car thefts today. A woman went to the gas station, walked into the store for about 20 minutes and when she got out her car was missing. The officer asked her where “were her keys. She told him they were in the car. She let him turn. She told the officer she never thought someone would steal her car,” he said. -he declares.

The other car theft was a boyfriend and girlfriend splitting up and the boyfriend “tried to repossess” the vehicle.

“At the end of the day, when it’s on the radio and people in the community hear it, they think we have this problem. But a big part of it is people have to be proactive. We need you be proactive,” he said.

Daughtry once discussed a series of auto burglaries in which 28 cars were broken into in three weeks.

“I was furious. I was up at night. I was driving at night. I got my staff out. They parked in the neighborhoods and walked out,” he said. started reading the reports, and out of 28 cars, do you know how many were locked? Zero. They would leave guns on the seat. I had a lady who had a bank bag she left on the seat Now if I drive by and you look at a bag and you see a UMB or Delta Bank bag and you pull the door handle and it’s unlocked… What I tell people is is that a real definition of crime is an opportunity. We must reduce the risk of crime.

“We will never stop crime. People will always try to take advantage of individuals. But put your things away. Hide your laptops. Raise your gun. Don’t leave your gun in the front seat. Don’t leave your purse in the front seat. Don’t leave your keys in the car. Little things like that will help us reduce crime.

Daughtry discussed the department’s new SWAT and VIPER teams and other changes. He said other police chiefs have asked him how he gets the city’s mayor and council of aldermen to support the department.

“Just be honest with them. We had agents who only had one pair of pants. We have officers who had coats who were 15, 16 years old. Some only had two shirts and none of them had long-sleeved shirts,” Daughtry said. “When I went to see them, they had no idea. No one brought it to their attention. They didn’t know about this stuff. So when I told them what we needed, they took it. immediately presented to the board and approved that we get new uniforms.

“And I’m happy to say that every officer in the Natchez Police Department has a full set of uniforms. They have four pairs of pants, three short-sleeved shirts, and two long-sleeved shirts, and everyone has a new jacket. winter weather to protect against the elements and that’s thanks to our mayor and council,” he said.

Daughtry approached some businesses to make donations to the Natchez Police Foundation to make purchases needed but not included in the police department’s budget this year.

“A lot of people don’t understand why we asked for donations to fund some of the things we do. It’s not that we’re here just begging, but you have checkbooks. You know how it goes. You can’t get blood out of a turnip,” he said.

These donations are needed to purchase special body armor for SWAT team members, as well as fund new officer training and other equipment needs.

“I’m grateful to be the chef at Natchez because every time we go somewhere people ask me, ‘What can we do to help you?’ There are people who support this community and it is so important for law enforcement.

Daughtry explained that his officers will work from the perspective of treating all citizens equally and that they will work to earn respect.

“I want you to understand something. Some communities, some towns, people are rooted in the community and because their grandfather fried the first piece of chicken in the community, they think they can do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t work that way anymore. We have to be fair,” he said. “If we can help you, we will help you. Everyone deserves a little help from time to time. But we are going to be direct in all areas – across all genders, all economic barriers, racial barriers. We’re going to treat people right until they don’t let us treat them that way. Now I said to my officers, ‘You are a police officer from Natchez. You are not making fun of anyone. We want our people to be safe and we want people to respect the town of Natchez. »

He discussed the city’s economic growth and vowed that he would participate in that growth in a positive way.

“Natchez is a beautiful place and we’re going to help build that economic development because one thing I learned in my crime prevention schools before the corporations came in is that they look at two things. They look at your school district and they look at your crime rate. These are two elements that encourage businesses to come to your community. I will do my part. I have met with the school administration and they are doing their part.

Daughtry said her office is open to all residents.

“I want to be your leader. My office is open to you,” he said. “You’re not going to like everything we do. And we will make mistakes. We are human. But when we make a mistake, we’ll admit it.

Daughtry said he had officers willing to go the extra mile and that, thanks to the new VIPER unit, they had made progress in tackling crime.

“We’ve taken so many guns off the streets and arrested so many convicted felons. We can go even further with your help… Lock your cars. Lock your doors. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings.

“We need to be curious neighbors again. If you know your next door neighbor Mr. Johnson only has a red truck and you see a blue F150 backing up outside his door, give us a call. I’d rather send an officer there and find out his son just got home from school than find out someone moved his stuff.

He said he wanted citizens to know when they see police carrying out a check that it is their tax money at work fighting crime.

“The criminal element has no ID. They don’t have a driver’s license. We make sure they have a driver’s license and they have insurance. We do this to make this community safer.

He asked the locals to keep him and his officers in their prayers.

“We have a tough job. During COVID, many of you may close or work remotely. We cannot close. When the phone rings, you have to pick it up.