Magee has named a new police chief, Chris Jones.
The appointment came at a special called meeting of the Board of Aldermen last Thursday night. Jones had been serving as interim chief even before the retirement of former chief Randy Crawford on June 30, filling in as Crawford used his remaining vacation time.
Jones has an extensive background in law enforcement. He started as a jailer in 2007 with Simpson County Sheriff’s Department under the administration of Sheriff Kenneth Lewis.
He served in that position until he got a call from Sheriff Lewis asking if he was interested in becoming a road deputy. So 11 months into the job as jailer, he decided to accept the transfer and become a road deputy.
Jones received his basic law enforcement training at Delta Law Enforcement Academy in Moorehead, Miss.
After four years of service he was promoted to sergeant. Along the way he was able to train in K-9 interdiction. His current K-9 partner in the Magee Police Department is Aram. Jones said the dog would be placed with another officer. You could tell by talking with him that Chief Jones is compassionate about his K-9 and wanted to make sure the dog’s relationship with a new officer would be a good match,
Jones also got extensive training in narcotics and eventually got into narcotics investigations. While narcotics work was not directly criminal investigation, he was able to experience his share of this type of work also.
In 2018 a vacancy occurred in a constable’s post in Simpson County. A special election was held in 2019 and Jones was elected as constable. He also took a position with the Magee Police Department and served in various capacities there, ultimately that of assistant police chief. He has continued to serve as constable and plans to continue to do so.
He said that the State Attorney General’s Office confirmed that there was no problem as long as the two jobs remain separate. Jones said he would not have sought the constable’s position if he had felt that serving in both capacities would create a problem. He is aware of ten different situations, he said, where law enforcement officers also serve part-time as constable.
When asked what he sees being one of the biggest problems facing Magee he was quick to answer, “Drugs, just like anywhere else.” He said heroin is now the biggest drug on the street, though formerly crystal meth and Fentanyl had caused more problems. His answer is more and consistent law enforcement.
He said that the Police Department has a good relationship with the Sheriff’s Department and with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and that he intends to call on them for assistance as needed.
He said, “My number one goal is to provide safety to the public and to my officers.” He said this will require more patrolling and being more pro-active in policing the community. Being pro-active will include driver safety checks as well as consistant, across the board law enforcement.
Another issue he faces is having the proper new equipment for his officers in that much of what the department has is growing inserviceable. His goal is to apply for grants to help with the cost of providing new equipment. Jones said he has experience in administering grant funding but may need some assistance in grant application.
Chief Jones demonstrates professionalism not only by the way he speaks to others but also in the way he dresses. He said that a top priority will be to have all officers in Class “A” uniforms.
He noted that the growth of the city will require growth in the department. Some vacancies will need to be filled to ensure officer safety.
Magee now has 16 full time patrol officer positions, and 19 part-time positions, in addition to eight dispatchers and three jailers. With the vacancy his promotion created, he anticipates three additional full time patrol positions.
Chris and his wife Whitney have three children, two girls age 15 and 13 and a 7-year-old boy. Whitney Jones is a hair dresser who operates her own business.