After a recommendation by the West Point Public Safety Committee, Tim Brinkley was hired Tuesday night as the chief of police for the West Point Police Department by the West Point Board of Mayor and Selectmen.
Brinkley, a native of Tupelo, who currently serves as the assistant chief of the Law Enforcement Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, will begin as chief of police on Sept.1, taking the place of interim police chief Bobby Lane.
Ward 2 selectman Homer Cannon served on the Public Safety Committee along with mayor Scott Ross, Ward 1 selectman Rod Bobo and four citizens of the West Point community. Cannon said it was these four citizens who reviewed the 10 applications that were submitted, narrowed it down to four to be interviewed and recommended that Brinkley be given the position. He said the process of the Public Safety Committee has been going on for over a month. Besides Brinkley, the top four applicants included Lane and an applicant from Maryland, and Cannon said all four were “strong applicants.”
Cannon said last week, questions were formulated to ask the four applicants, such as how they felt about serving as police chief in a small town, what their experience is and how things were on their last jobs.
“It was not just about a person having a degree or whether or not they had already been a police chief,” Cannon said.
Cannon thanked the four community members for their support and endeavors in this hiring process. Cannon said after the interview, he felt that Brinkley was the right person to serve as police chief.
“You're talking about a guy who has been in law enforcement for over 30 years...His first job here was a police officer,” Cannon said. “He's home-grown, he has all of his ties here in West Point, and the answers that he gave were very impressive. That's what made us select him.”
Some of those questions the committee asked Brinkley are what is his vision for West Point, what would be the first thing he would implement, how would he go about restructuring the department if he felt it needed restructuring.
“Most of the questions he answered are what I feel we as citizens of West Point wanted to hear,” Cannon said. “The answers that he gave us were all about the safety and concerns of the citizens. I feel that he will make the right decisions concerning this town.”
Ward 5 selectman Jasper Pittman was the only selectman who voted against the motion to accept the recommendation from the Public Safety Committee to hire Brinkley for the job.
“I just feel like chief Bobby Lane should have been given a chance,” Pittman said. “I have nothing against Brinkley, but we give everybody else a chance who we select as interim, and I think Bobby should have been chosen.”
Brinkley, who is also pastor of Mt. Hermon Missionary Baptist Church in West Point, said Tuesday night that he felt “a little bit anxious” about the job but excited at the same time.
“I'm very excited about coming back to West Point and working in my own community,” Brinkley said. “I'm leaving a lot of friends in Jackson with the Department of Wildlife, but I'm excited to come home and work in the community where I live.”
Brinkley said he put in his initial application for chief about five years ago around the time Steve Bingham was selected as chief. Brinkley said he was promoted at his current job at the time when Bingham was selected, and when the position became available this time around, he was contacted to see if he was still interested in becoming chief.
A challenge is ahead of him, he said, and he's ready to take the WPPD to a higher level. Brinkley said he will have to do an intensive evaluation to determine what the needs are in the police department. He hopes to take the next few weeks and determine those needs before October. He emphasized that he will not immediately make any personnel changes. He said he also wanted to further evaluate the needs of the community and make adjustments. One need he said he wants to provide is more police equipment, and with his contacts from state government, grant writers and other resources, he believes he will be able to provide the city a way of obtaining that equipment without it being a strain on the city.