Jackson County

‘He cares ... about this community.’ Pascagoula names new police chief.

The city of Pascagoula has a new police chief.

Matt Chapman, a 28-year veteran of the Pascagoula police force, served as deputy chief under former Police Chief Kenny Johnson. In the last month, Chapman has been serving as interim police chief.

Chapman’s move to interim police chief came after Johnson announced his plans to retire at the end of October. Johnson was later appointed interim city manager, but he is no longer acting in that role because his retirement went into effect Thursday.

However, Johnson decided who would be his successor.

“It’s rare for an outgoing chief to be able to hire their successor,” Johnson said in a release. “I just happened to be in that unique position. Matt has been my right hand as deputy chief. He knows and cares about this department, our officers and this community. I have no doubt he will serve this city well as chief of police.”

Chapman said he is honored to be serving alongside “some of the finest officers in America.”

“My goal for the department as chief is to make sure our officers are well trained and well equipped, and that every citizen of Pascagoula knows that when they need us, we will respond quickly, courteously, and with the utmost respect as we seek to enforce the law and protect their loved ones day in and day out,” Chapman said.

The city appointed Johnson to serve as interim city manager after Ryan Frederic, who was serving in a dual role as city manager and city attorney, took medical leave.

As a result of Johnson’s retirement, Assistant City Manager Frank Corder has been named acting city manager.

He will remain in that position until a new city manager is hired.

“Pascagoula couldn’t ask for a better chief of police than Matt Chapman,” Corder added. “I’ve known and worked with Matt for almost 20 years in some capacity. He has proven his dedication to our citizens time and again, and will be a strong, visible advocate for this community for many years to come.”

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Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.