Dawsey names Smith as interim assistant chief

Published 2:31 pm Friday, May 20, 2011

Picayune Police Department’s new chief, Bryan Dawsey, has big plans for his department, and to help him achieve those goals he’s appointed former Police Chief Brenda Smith as his interim assistant chief.

One of the changes Dawsey’s made in the short time he’s been chief was to implement a one assistant chief position in lieu of two deputy chief positions. Dawsey said Smith has many years of experience that will help him get his feet on the ground as he moves into his new position, just as she did for Jim Luke when he became chief. While Smith will be assistant chief only temporarily, Dawsey said he has not decided who will fill that role permanently. He said it may take a couple of months to find the right person to fill the assistant chief position permanently.

“We’ll put who we think the best person for the job is, whether it’s from within the department or outside the department,” Dawsey said.

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Another change Dawsey has made involves asking his staff to take up multiple roles in the department. Capt. Chad Dorn will now act as the Department’s Public Information Officer in addition to his duty as Patrol Commander, while Lt. Bonnie Cousin will head up the jail and the department’s communications and Smith will not only be interim assistant chief but will maintain her previous role as the department’s accreditation manager.

A number of programs started during Luke’s time as chief will continue during Dawsey’s command, especially including national accreditation, Dawsey said. The new chief also plans to continue the community relationship and the working relationships with surrounding law enforcement agencies, state and federal agencies and the school district.

Youth programs, Citizens on Patrol, battling drug use and distribution and the department’s Citizens Academy also will continue.

To build on the relationships with the community, Dawsey said he plans to hold community meetings where he can gather feed back and concerns from those areas that can help the department do a better job.

“If we have the support of the community behind us, we’re going to be successful,” Dawsey said. “I can assure you we’re going to treat the citizens with respect. Every citizen’s problem, big or small, is our problem.”

Dawsey said he will have an open door policy to enable citizens to meet with him to discuss problems the community may have.

Smith said she will help the department keep up with the latest technology in law enforcement to better serve the public.