MOSS POINT -- Police Chief Art McClung is among the top finalists for the Columbus police chief's job.
"That's where I started my career," he said. "It's not really that I want to leave Moss Point. I've grown to love this community. It was never in my plans to leave."
McClung wouldn't expand on his reasons for pursuing the job other than to say it was "personal."
He said he will interview in Columbus on Jan. 19. The other finalists are Columbus Interim Chief Capt. Fred Shelton; Waynesboro Police Chief Oscar Lewis III; Curtis Brame, a commander in North Chicago; and Geoffrey Herweg, deputy chief of the Lovington, N.M., Police Department. The mayor plans to appoint a new police chief by the first of February.
McClung was voted in as police chief in Moss Point on Jan. 6, 2015, after serving six months as interim chief. He replaced Keith Davis, who resigned to become chief of the state Department of Marine Resources' Marine Patrol.
McClung's appointment became a matter of contention early on among residents in Moss Point.
The Board of Aldermen initially voted to hire former Pascagoula police Capt. Calvin Hutchins, now a constable in Jackson County, but Mayor Billy Broomfield vetoed the board's 4-3 vote for Hutchins. Broomfield defended the veto, saying McClung was the most qualified finalist.
The board later voted unanimously to hire McClung.
When he took the job, McClung said he wanted to paint Moss Point in a positive light and wanted residents to enjoy the fine things the city has to offer.
He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and served in the U.S. Air Force. He has worked for the Columbus and Pearl police departments and at the Mississippi Department of Corrections. While he was with MDOC, he was on the Rankin County SWAT team and became chief of investigations at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. He joined the Moss Point Police Department in 2012. He was named Moss Point's interim chief July 2, 2014, after Davis resigned.
The Associated Press, contributed to this report.