Lt. Calvin Hutchins is 45, has 23 years in law enforcement with Moss Point and Pascagoula and is set to take over as Moss Point police chief at the end of the month.
The Police Department has four detectives, the same as it had when Hutchins left in 1994. He’s hoping to add detectives, as well as patrol officers.
He said he wants to bring to Moss Point some of the administrative organization and structure he has seen in Pascagoula, where he is now a shift lieutenant.
He is looking forward to the move, even though the city’s politics have been divisive and he could be replaced by a new Board of Aldermen and mayor after the June elections.
“I feel like if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, moving forward, the board will not bother the Police Department,” he said. “If we are effective at where we’re going.”
Hutchins was a community favorite for the post in 2014, but his support from the Board of Aldermen was divided and he lost to a veto by the mayor, who thought he lacked administrative experience.
Hutchins grew up in Moss Point. He started his law enforcement career there, but before that, he was an Explorer Scout with the department at age 15. Bringing back that connection with youth and returning the police reserves to the 25 it once had is part of his agenda.
“The biggest thing with the chief position is stability,” he told the Sun Herald. There have been a number of chiefs in the last 15 years. Also, last year, the department came under audit investigation for spending irregularities in an auxiliary fund.
Hutchins said he wants to give back.
His plan is to watch the department as it functions now before making any changes.
“To be fair is to put everyone on observation,” he said. “If everything is functioning properly, they’re effective at what they’re doing, there’s no need to move anyone.”
He plans to return Interim Chief Brandon Ashley to the position of deputy chief.
The chief is over personnel in the Courts Department, the Criminal Investigations Division, patrol and the administrative staff, he said. He agreed this will be the biggest administrative challenge of his career.
“I want to come home and get things back into place,” he said.
He is the interim pastor for the New Generation Christian Fellowship Church in Pascagoula, and he was elected constable of District 2 in 2015 while working for Pascagoula’s Police Department. He plans to keep the job when he steps up to chief. He said District 2 includes most of Moss Point and his election to constable is an indicator of his support there.
He said the constable position allows him to work at his own pace on off days and evenings, handling warrants, subpoenas and civil process for the courts. He plans to run for re-election when the time comes.
Decision to re-apply
Hutchins did not re-apply for the police chief job last year after Chief Art McClung resigned. McClung, Mayor Billy Broomfield’s choice in 2014, was faced with being fired for leading Pascagoula police on a high-speed chase in a Moss Point police vehicle and admitting to liquor consumption.
Hutchins pointed out he was not in the first round of six applicants for the job.
“I knew some who were on the list,” he said. “But when they didn’t make a selection and re-advertised in January, I felt compelled to try again.”
“I know there are a lot of great people in Moss Point,” he said. “I want to prove we can be better as a community.
Calvin Hutchins, Moss Point’s new police chief
1994 — Started in Moss Point as a patrolman and later Criminal Investigations Division
1998 — Moved to Pascagoula as patrolman, rode a motorcycle in the Traffic Division
2007 — Transferred to Pascagoula CID
2009 — Supervisor of special-response team working high-crime areas of Pascagoula in the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina
2011 — Returned to CID, promoted to sergeant
2013 — Promoted to shift lieutenant