JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Friday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced Jackson Police Chief James Davis will retire from the Jackson Police Department (JPD).
Davis has served more than 30 years at the department, starting as a patrol officer. He later served as a deputy chief and an assistant chief. Davis was named the chief of police in September 2018.
Davis’ departure comes as the Jackson Police Department faces problems with short-staffing and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has criticized state officials for increasing the role of the state-run Capitol Police inside Jackson.
“I never buckled under the weight of the badge,” Davis said Friday during a news conference with the mayor.
Lumumba said Davis has demonstrated “a heart for service,” and he praised Davis for efforts to train and recruit officers. Davis has been Jackson’s longest-serving police chief since the late 1980s.
Assistant Chief Joseph Wade was named the interim police chief until a permanent replacement for the department has been found.
Jackson has nearly 150,000 residents and has had more than 100 homicides each of the last three years.
Capitol Police have been patrolling in and near downtown Jackson, where state office buildings are located. Legislators voted this year to let Capitol Police patrol the entire city along with the Jackson Police Department.
Legislators also voted to create a new court inside Jackson with a judge who would be appointed rather than elected, and they authorized the appointment of four judges to work alongside the four elected judges in Hinds County Circuit Court, where Jackson is located.
Those who pushed the state police expansion and appointed judges said they were trying to curb crime in Jackson. Lumumba and other critics have said the majority-white and Republican-controlled Legislature was trying to usurp local control in Jackson, which is majority-Black and has is governed mostly by Democrats.
The NAACP filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the Capitol Police expansion and appointment of judges. The suit warns Mississippi is creating “separate and unequal policing” by having state patrols in Jackson but not in other places. A federal judge has temporarily put a hold on the laws dealing with courts and policing in Jackson, and he is scheduled to hold a hearing Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.