Newly hired Police Chief Daren Freeman said he is focused on setting a higher standard for his officers and moving the department past the shadow of the former police chief’s suicide and the looming investigations that resulted in some recent staff turnover.
“I have been in law enforcement for more than 25 years and could not be more proud of the men and women who work for the Bay St. Louis Police Department,” Freeman said Thursday. “We are moving forward in an effective and efficient manner and have set the bar high.”
Though there were some recent resignations and terminations of staff last week, Freeman said he has begun to right the ship, focusing on recruitment, training and building a new foundation for the department.
He said he’s moving the department into a new era — one of high morale and elite law enforcement standards.
The officers are responding remarkably well and are very excited to be part of the transition. Morale is improving daily and everyone is contributing in a positive manner.
Daren Freeman, Bay St. Louis police chief
“The officers are responding remarkably well and are very excited to be part of the transition,” he said. “Morale is improving daily and everyone is contributing in a positive manner.”
He said there are a lot of young officers who are eager to train and learn.
Freeman brings many years of experience to the job, much of which involved developing new law enforcement programs. He worked for the Mississippi Highway Patrol for nearly 25 years, serving as a public affairs officer and most recently the director of internal affairs.
His responsibilities at MHP included:
▪ Working with the Legislature on the agency’s $95 million budget
▪ Coordinating the upgrade of the agency’s promotion-assessment program
▪ Helping create MHP’s Officer Candidate School
▪ Serving on the panel to modernize the procedures manual for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, which oversees the highway patrol
▪ Assisting with cadet recruitment and selection
▪ Executing briefings for Gov. Phil Bryant and executive staff members on confidential matters relating to Department of Public Safety
▪ Supervising investigative matters for the Commissioner of Public Safety and hosting briefings for the state attorney general.
Among his areas of expertise are policies and procedures, and hiring and firing practices. Prior to applying for the chief position in Bay St. Louis, Freeman said he gathered information to begin developing a standard operating procedure so each staff member will be familiar with department policies.
He lived in Hattiesburg for nine years before moving to Pass Christian two years ago, from where he commuted to work in Jackson.
He said he applied for the Bay job in part because of his desire to work on the Coast, give back, and be a part of the community he shares with his wife and 11-year-old daughter.