Hancock County

Bay St. Louis mayor names interim police chief

Matt Issman was named Bay St. Louis interim police chief.
Matt Issman was named Bay St. Louis interim police chief. Courtesy Matt Issman

A man with decades of law enforcement experience has been named interim police chief.

Mayor Mike Favre confirmed Tuesday that Matt Issman will act as police chief during the search for a permanent replacement for Daren Freeman, who submitted his resignation to Favre late Monday afternoon.

Issman was employed with the federal government for 23 years before retiring and going to work for Louisiana State Police. He became the chief of police at Louisiana State University’s campus in Alexandria in 2011. He retired from there in 2014 and has been working part-time for the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney’s Office and coroner’s office.

Issman lives in Bay St. Louis and said he just bought a condo in Long Beach.

He also is involved in theater and has a stage role in “9 to 5” at the Bay St. Louis Little Theater.

He was on his way to rehearsals Tuesday after being named interim police chief. He said he wasn’t expecting the position but told Favre he’d step up to the plate.

“I’ve never backed away from a challenge,” Issman said. “All of this happened in the last 2 days, but when the mayor asked me, I told him I’m a good soldier and I’ll help in any way I can.”

Freeman was hired to fill the position vacated by the Sept. 8, 2016, suicide of Chief Mike De Nardo. Officials have said De Nardo was under investigation for alleged gun sales and payroll fraud. Police Capt. Wes Mayley served as interim chief until the city hired Freeman.

Freeman held the position of police chief for eight months. He resigned unexpectedly and Favre said he accepted his “with regrets.”

On Tuesday, Favre confirmed he and Freeman discussed a videotaped drug arrest from May that apparently has stirred up rumors. The tape reportedly shows Freeman with one hand on a suspect’s chest and his other hand holding the person’s face down.

The Sun Herald has filed a public records request for the video.

Sun Herald reporter Robin Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_