COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Just before 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Columbia Police Chief Mike Cooper resigned from the department. According to City of Columbia Aldermen Mike Smith, he submitted his resignation citing he wanted to pursue his wrecker business full-time instead of part-time as his business has taken off.
"We wish Mike all the best, because he's been a good chief," said Smith. "He's been with the police department for like 27 years. He served as chief just shy of four years."
In his resignation letter, he stated that he had to decide between "financial security for his family and his love for law enforcement." Mayor Justin McKenzie also said that Cooper wanted to retire, so he could go home and be a "full-time paw paw."
"We want to wish him the best and thank him for his many years of service in law enforcement to Columbia and Marion County," said McKenzie.
Cooper's resignation did not come as a complete surprise to city officials.
"We heard that he was kind of wanting to retire," said Smith. "So, we kind of had some idea."
Michael Kelly, who was a code enforcement officer, has been appointed as the new police chief. The Columbia Board of Aldermen voted 4 to 0 to hire Kelly on Monday. He has worked for the department less than a year.
WDAM previously reported that Kelly resigned as police chief from the Seminary Police Department in March 2017 due to stress and needing more financial security for his family.
Kelly's appointment is effective immediately. Mayor Justin McKenzie says his swearing in ceremony is slated for this week.