Police Chief Gary Ponthieux has named a former Gulfport Police Department co-worker as the city’s deputy chief of police.
Alvin Kingston, who’s from Bay St. Louis, has 10 years of experience with Gulfport police. He was most recently an investigator, Ponthieux said in a news release.
“He brings a lot of knowledge and experience to me and the system I'm putting in place,” Ponthieux said.
Ponthieux, who became the city’s fifth chief in 13 months on Oct. 4, is a former Gulfport police supervisor and Bay native.
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Ponthieux was Mayor Mike Favre’s choice to lead the beleaguered police department, which operates out of Fire Station No. 1; the former police building is mold-ridden.
Kingston is Ponthieux’s choice as second in command, he told the city council Tuesday night.
Kingston joined the Gulfport Police Department in 2007 and was promoted to the rank of detective in its criminal investigations division in 2014.
He was lead investigator in several high-profile investigations in Gulfport and has a working relationship with the District Attorney’s Office, Ponthieux said.
Kingston is a graduate of Bay High School and the University of Southern Mississippi. He earned a bachelor’s degree in the administration of justice with a focus on police management and supervision, criminal investigations, criminology, forensic science and community policing.
Kingston also graduated from the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute at Camp Shelby.
Ponthieux confirmed he has made some staff changes in recent weeks, but declined to say how, and said the department is hiring more officers.
Police department leadership has changed several times since Sept. 8, 2016, when then-Chief Mike De Nardo fatally shot himself. He was being relived of his duties under suspicion of payroll fraud and an illegal gun sale.
A police captain, a former state trooper and a long-time federal investigator have led the department since then for periods of two weeks to nine months.
Ponthieux said Kingston will help him groom the department by using practices that they know work from their experiences with the Gulfport Police Department.