OPD’s East takes reins of chief’s of police association

Published 6:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

The gavel has been passed to Joey East, the newest president of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.

East, Oxford’s police chief, was elected two years ago to serve on the path for president, serving for a year as a vice president and this month he has stepped into his new shoes as president.

He learned the ropes last year and is prepared for his new commitment. He’s already decided on four main things to pursue this year.

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“The association’s constitution and bylaws are kind of outdated, so one of the first things I’ve done is assemble a team to look at that,” he said. “We will look at job descriptions because some of them may not be needed anymore.”

He has also assembled a team that will work with the lawmakers in Jackson to ensure police departments across the state are receiving needed resources.

“I’m really going to try to work this year with our legislators in Jackson to get everyone closer,” he said. “We have assembled a group to study what is coming up, what we need to work on and what will help us as chiefs. And, with the legislators getting to know us also, if they have questions or need anything from law enforcement, they’ll know to call us.”

Another item on East’s to-do list is ensure departments are getting adequate training. He said people across the country are quick to point a finger at what law enforcement needs to do, so they want to evaluate it for themselves and look hard at if needs are being met.

“We’ve assembled a committee to study how we are training new recruits,” he said. “It really goes back to what academies are training. As professionals, we are not hearing from us. We are not saying, ‘look, this is what training we need.’ So we’re going to study that and ensure our officers are up on training.”

East said the chiefs are not exempt from that training, as they have minimal standards to meet and are required to have executive leadership training. So, he’s talking to a company that provides free online training that’s accredited through the state.

East, who served as deputy chief in Oxford before becoming chief a little over three years ago, is excited for this role and wants to do a good job on behalf of all chiefs and law enforcement statewide.

“It’s a complete, absolute honor,” he said. “You sit in a room with 250 chiefs across the state and to know you represent them, it’s very humbling. I’m going to be busy not only representing Oxford, but also all these chiefs throughout the state. I want to do a really good job for them.”