Photo: Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite congratulates new Police Chief Brent Vickers after he was sworn into office Tuesday morning. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
It was last August that Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite the beginning of what he called, “Operation Close the Door.” The initiative puts more visible law enforcement presence along the Southaven border with Memphis, aiming for police officers to be ready and proactive in stopping “spillover” criminals from Memphis coming into Southaven and committing crimes in the city.
Operation Close the Door began when new police chief Brent Vickers was the department’s deputy police. Tuesday, after being sworn in as the new chief, replacing the retiring Macon Moore, Vickers said the initiative has been working and it will continue.
“What we’ve seen from that is that we’ve seen a reduction in our robberies, we’ve seen a reduction in auto burglaries, and we’ve seen a reduction in our injury crashes,” Vickers said. “So we believe that there is value to that effort. And that effort will continue to help promote Southaven and make Southaven a great place for people to come and visit.”
Vickers Tuesday officially took the role of Southaven’s “top cop” after earlier being approved by the city’s Board of Aldermen.
Musselwhite has pointed out through the process that Vickers is the first Southaven police chief in history who has gone through the department his entire career. The mayor also indicated to the full board room that Vickers is the fourth police chief he has worked with during his administration but Musselwhite is confident he is the right person for the job.
“Today, your character, your training, your experience, and your commitment to excellence have made you ready,” Musselwhite told Vickers. “You’ve earned this promotion. This day is not about making history because you’re the only one to come all the way through the ranks. This day is special because you’re the guy that we want.”
Vickers said it is too soon to lay down immediate short term goals for the police department but said the Southaven force will continue to be a proactive one when it comes to fighting crime.
“We’re gonna focus on the small things because we believe that makes a difference and those do impact the quality of life,” said Vickers. “So we’re going to also work towards leveraging all of our technological capabilities that we can along with just, you know, just good old fashioned policing.”
Vickers’ background includes time with the Mississippi Army National Guard before joining the Southaven department in 2000.
“He and I have worked together for several years and I’ve just noticed for several years his skill, his general qualities and leadership qualities,” Musselwhite said. “He’s a very humble man and always places his fellow men and women in front of him. He’s a strictly business kind of guy. All he’s done is preparing for this day. So I believe he’s a perfect choice.”
Vickers is looking forward to continuing the strong relationships developed with other law enforcement agencies in DeSoto County.
“We’re gonna continue to work on that and leverage those relationships to keep Southaven a great place to be as far as the gold is gonna go,” Vickers said.