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Lead, Follow, Get The Hell Out Of The Way!!!

This coming Sunday, the City Administration will be sworn in to begin a new four year term. The rumors are running rampant as to who is in, who is out and so fourth.



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This coming Sunday, the City Administration will be sworn in to begin a new four year term. The rumors are running rampant as to who is in, who is out and so fourth.

First allow me to use this forum to wish out-going, Alderman Willis Thompson the best in his future endeavors. I got to know him well in the past few years. He is a fine man who truly cares about Vicksburg. He will be an asset to any organization he finds employment with.

I purposely stayed out of that race because I liked both candidates a lot. Alex Monsour has been a strong advocate for Warren County in the legislature. The contacts and relationships he has developed should bear fruit for years to come. And truthfully, four years from now, he could be our next Mayor.

I have been very vocal about my friendship and support of Micheal Mayfield. He’s been a solid force in our government. His leadership has led us through many tough situations.

I have known George Flaggs all my life. And I honestly like and respect Mayor Flaggs. Although at times we have disagreed, we have always known George was in the game, swinging for his cause. In his time in the legislature, you always knew he was there. The Juvenile Justice system in our state is better because of George.

My problems with George stem from interfering in the Fire and Police Departments. I’m not being hypocritical here. I met with George a few weeks back and told him so. And I have expressed my concerns even before he took office.

Allow me once again to digress and explain my working knowledge here. My Father,Uncle, and Great Uncle were Vicksburg Firefighters. My Uncle was Chief for several years. I was a Deputy Sheriff under former Sheriff Barrett. So I feel I look at these issues from a different perspective than “Average Joe Citizen”.

In my opinion, Lawrence Leyens got beat because of Tommy Moffett. The public detested the idea of a person being brought in from the outside to lead our Police Department. Moral was at an all time low.

The two best things Paul Winfield did was installing new leadership in the Fire and Police Departments and letting them alone for the most part.

Part of that leadership was John Dolan at the Police Department. John was directly responsible for numerous changes at the PD. Some of these led to the agency becoming accredited for the first time in it’s history. He also renegotiated our arrangement for prisoner housing with Issaquena County, which saved tremendous amounts of money. His pursuit of state and federal grant funding brought us many things at little or no cost to the taxpayer.

Dolan, along with Michell Dent were swept out on day one of the Flaggs Administration. Mayor Flaggs wanted Chief Armstrong and Chief Atkins out as well, but couldn’t get the support of either Alderman. His plan was to install Sandra Williams as Police Chief and Derrick Stamps as Fire Chief. When this proved unsuccessful, he set about trying to change the form of government, amend the charter, and anything possible to get these Chiefs to fold. Neither did and I admire them for their resolve and ability to lead and weather the storm.

Well, the storm is brewing once again! The rumor mill or as George refers to it,”The Street Committee”, has a half dozen candidates for Police Chief. Craig Danczyk appears to be the incoming Fire Chief. That is a wise decision in my opinion. Several other positions within City Government are said to be set to be eliminated or changed.

First, let’s discuss the Fire Department. Chief Atkins has 33 years of service to this City. He has served us well. Deputy Chief Kenny Daniels retired this spring. Deputy Chief Danczyk occupies the other Deputy Chief slot. He has worked his way up through the ranks. He developed a three-phase plan to improve and upgrade the Vicksburg Fire Department. One phase will go online later this year with the completion of Station 3 on Berryman Road behind Pizza Inn. This will allow an opportunity to close one or more of the existing stations and expedite the deployment of resources in a more strategic manner. We have an aging Fire Apparatus Fleet. It is imperative that we continue to upgrade equipment or it will affect fire ratings which in turn affect insurance rates. If a change is to be made at the VFD, Craig Danczyk is the right choice.

Now on to the Vicksburg Police Department. I would like to see Walter Armstrong retained. Under his watch, the department has attained accreditation. The equipment is at a level on par with any in the country. New weapons have been obtained at no cost to the taxpayers. Body camera’s along with vehicle camera systems have been implemented. An officer has been assigned to the Downtown Business area. Numerous programs have been implemented and expanded that impact our quality of life.

Bobby Stewart currently occupies the number 2 position as Deputy Chief. His list of accomplishments within the Department would fill volumes. His leadership has kept the Department moving forward. He moved up through the ranks in various capacities including Chief of Detectives, where he solved numerous high profile cases. His level of expertise in working narcotics has been seen repeatedly in the volume of arrests the Department makes.

Johnny Edwards occupies the other Deputy Chief position. I am told he has become very adept at budgeting and dealing with the nuts and bolts of operating the VPD.

Milton Moore is currently Captain over Patrol. He is a second generation Vicksburg Police Officer. Mayor Flaggs told me several weeks back that Moore was under strong consideration for the Chief’s position. Moore is a fine man who is proving his ability to lead.

Sandra Williams is currently Captain over Investigations. Her husband or ex-husband is an ex-officer who was convicted in Federal Court for protecting drug trafficking into this community. Her appointment would make the Moffett years look like a day in the park, in my opinion.  Former Lt. Troy Kimble has his name in the mix as well. Kimble is an excellent Investigator. He has been directly responsible for a lot of the successes that Williams claims as her own. However, I do not think he would make a good choice as chief.

The rumor mill also has former Chief Mitchell Dent and someone from out of state under consideration.

My thoughts are this. Keep Armstrong! Keep Stewart! I have it on good authority Armstrong is under consideration for a Chief’s position in another community. He is first Vice President of the State Chief’s Association and is widely respected by his peers.

But if he must go, why not Stewart as Chief? He’s been highly effective in his current role.

Before I close another key factor this new administration must address is pay. Both Departments need to be funded better. We continue to be a training ground for other agencies. Until this issue is addressed the cycle will be continued.



This is an opinion piece offered by the author of this article.  This article does not necessarily represent the view of Vicksburg Daily News or it’s representatives.  

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