The state Department of Marine Resources named former Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis its chief of Marine Patrol on Thursday morning during a press conference at the Biloxi Visitors Center.
DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said Davis will bring a new level of professionalism to the agency.
"Chief Davis brings a wealth of law enforcement knowledge to our agency and has proven himself as a leader professionally," he said. "I hold our Marine Patrol officers to the highest standard and believe Keith will continue to develop them into the preeminent law enforcement agency in Mississippi."
Davis has been in law enforcement for 20 years and had been Moss Point chief since 2011.
"I look at the agency as an agency that's looking for leadership and professionalism and certainly in my 20 years I've been exposed to a little bit of that and I think I have something to offer," he said.
Davis said there's certainly one thing he learned as chief that will apply to his new position.
"Patience, a lot of patience," he said.
He also said his goal is to improve morale.
As for the difference between patrolling water versus land, Davis said he's more than willing to get out on the Sound.
"I'm gonna be a supervisor that's not afraid to go out there with the troops," he said. "I want them to know that I'm not better than they are and I'm going to be on the front lines with them."
He said he is a recreational boater and is even looking to buy his own craft in the near future.
Davis submitted his resignation June 12 to Mayor Billy Broomfield. He has since cited a deteriorating relationship with the mayor as a reason for leaving.
About 100 residents turned out for the June 17 Board of Aldermen meeting to find out why Davis resigned. At that meeting, aldermen rejected his resignation, saying they wanted to show support for him, and to know why themselves.
Alderman Wayne Lennep said the board has not yet started the process of finding his replacement.
"As of right now, we have not taken action to advertise the position, so there is no official 'search' yet," he said. "I expect the board to take it up in the July 1 meeting or possibly in a special meeting sooner.
"I am hoping for a careful, thoughtful search and interview process," he said. "We have some big shoes to fill in replacing Keith Davis. He set the bar very high, in my opinion."
Davis will start at the DMR on July 1 and make $70,000 annually