January 16, 2014 10:38:13 AM
Starkville Police Department Capt. Frank Nichols confirmed Wednesday he is one of two applicants seeking the recently vacated police chief's position.
It is believed Nichols is the only internal SPD officer applying for the position. Starkville's human resources department would not confirm the identity of the other applicant. The city will accept applications through Monday.
Nichols, a lifelong resident of Starkville, worked his way from patrolman to captain after joining the force in 1992. He graduated from Starkville High School in 1987 and holds an associate's degree from East Mississippi Community College, a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University and a master's degree from Troy University in Alabama.
Nichols also accrued an extensive military record after serving in both Gulf Wars. He was first deployed with the Navy on the USS Independence, the first American aircraft carrier to enter the Persian Gulf since 1974, during the first Gulf War. A subsequent stint with the Mississippi Army National Guard also deployed him during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005.
"Since becoming a police officer, one of my main objectives has always been to strive to foster a positive relation between the community and police department. I do feel that I'm prepared to provide our growing community with sound, progressive leadership. I feel that I have the necessary understanding of the community and the people in it to bridge that gap of understanding," he said in a written statement obtained by The Dispatch. "One of my central goals, if selected, would be to introduce new programs geared toward community policing to further promote Starkville's reputation as a safe, friendly and family oriented community."
In addition to his police duties, Nichols is an adjunct instructor with the state's police academy system, where he teaches Mississippi and constitutional law. He also taught criminal justice classes as an EMCC adjunct instructor.
"As laws, technologies and times change, so must Starkville adapt to new law enforcement strategies, policies and implementations," he said in the statement.
Former SPD Chief David Lindley effectively retired Dec. 31. The long-serving police chief was placed on administrative leave by the board of aldermen prior to accepting his resignation in November.
It is believed an internal SPD investigation was authorized by the board after a situation arose when his wife, former MSU police Chief Georgia Lindley, struck a parked car last year before the MSU-Alabama football game. Georgia Lindley would resign her post in December after she was charged with driving under the influence that same month.
The incoming SPD chief is expected to: work closely with the mayor, board of aldermen and other city department heads; prepare and administer the department's budget; evaluate subordinates' job performances; direct the investigations department; and oversee all Starkville police functions.
The position is set at a salary grade 18 -- about $65,000 to almost $87,000 -- but the expected pay range for a new hire is capped at $77,000, according to the city's advertising of the position.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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