HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The next candidate for Hattiesburg Police Chief has the support of the Hattiesburg Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 55.
The HFOP said in a release that an "investigation was conducted expeditiously but with the due diligence."
The outcome of the investigation revealed that the Crystal Springs Police Chief Anthony Parker "is qualified to assume the Office of Chief of Police."
Parker is the fourth candidate nominated by Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, and the first to receive the official "vote of confidence" from the HFOP.
Other candidates nominated by Mayor DuPree were rejected by the city council.
HFOP Lodge No. 55 President Allen Murray wrote in a release, "our investigation revealed that Mr. Parker has an appropriate level of training and diverse skills that demonstrates his knowledge of current police guidelines."
"He also has a proven leadership style that has been highlighted by his former subordinates, peers, and superiors."
The "current" Hattiesburg Police Chief Frazier Bolton, who has held the position for eight years, has yet to be appointed by DuPree. According to DuPree, Bolton is still the chief, but in recent events, he is no longer handling the departments operations. Bolton was interested in being appointed as chief, and issued a recent press release to the media asking to be re-instated as well as listing his "accomplishments" as chief.
DuPree was found in civil contempt recently in Forrest County Circuit Court by specially appointed Judge Breland Hilburn regarding the process of appointments for the city positions. After a full day of testimony, Hilburn ruled that if the position is not confirmed by July 10, DuPree would face a $150 daily fine.
During testimony DuPree stated that he in fact, already had a candidate in mind, however that bringing a truly qualified candidate forward with the potential for it only being a "2 year term" was unstable and shaky ground and it was no easy task.
During the Monday afternoon city council work session, the Anthony Parker appointment was brought up. Council President Kim Bradley said that Parker was planning to be present for the meeting; however a family emergency with his brother in Georgia kept him away.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden added that she has heard nothing but good things about Parker, from his past work, to the other people she has spoken to.
Council is expected to vote on the nomination during their Tuesday meeting, however Parker's presence could be an issue.
Parker's resume combines more than 33 years of law enforcement experience, including 27 years with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. He has held multiple positions at the Crystal Springs Police Department since 2010, and became the chief in October 2013.
"It is our belief that Mr. Parker will be committed to serving the people of the City of Hattiesburg and will do so with a level of integrity that is beyond reproach. One behalf of the HFOP, I am pleased to announce that we are issuing a "Vote of Confidence" for Mr. Parker," said HFOP President, Allen Murray.