Longtime officer is 1st woman to be Meridian police chief
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — A city in eastern Mississippi has sworn in a longtime officer as its new police chief.
Deborah Naylor-Young is the first woman to lead the Meridian Police Department.
“I’m just Chief,” Naylor-Young told WTOK-TV after she was sworn in Friday. “Everybody makes a big deal out of it being the first female. I’m honored, grateful and thankful. As I said before, it’s not about me. It’s about this police department and trying to get things on the right track.”
Naylor-Young has been with the Meridian Police Department for almost a quarter century. She began her career in courts and records in 1995 before becoming a police officer in 1998. She retired in 2019, and the City Council voted in August to hire her as chief, the Meridian Star reported.
She rose through the ranks and believes she has earned the respect of fellow officers.
“If there’s something going on, they feel comfortable approaching me about situations and not scared to talk to me about it and let me know what’s going on,” Naylor-Young said.
She succeeds Chris Read after the City Council voted in July not to keep him as chief.
Naylor-Young said hiring more officers is a priority in the city of about 36,350.
“Getting more officers out in the community, more visibility and get them where they feel comfortable talking with the community and the community will feel comfortable talking with them and letting them know different things going on that maybe our officers are not award of,” she said.