BYRAM, Miss. (WLBT) - After more than ten years on the job, Byram’s first police chief has resigned so he can pursue a new opportunity outside law enforcement.
Byram city officials hired Chief Luke Thompson not just to run the day-to-day operations of the police department, but essentially build it from the ground up, right down to the patch each officer wears and the colors on the patrol cars, which come from Byram’s school colors.
“For everyone to get an idea of your vision, you’ve got to be able to create for them a picture. And that picture comes with a shoulder patch and with a police car,” Thompson said.
Over the last ten and a half years, Thompson did much more than that.
His department, initially staffed with 20 officers, will soon grow to 31.
Thompson also based Byram’s policies and procedures on nationally-recognized accreditation standards from the very beginning.
While the chief would not disclose the job opportunity that led to his departure, Thompson said it’s not in law enforcement and is out of the public eye, a move he also made for his family.
“My 11 year old knows things that other 11 year olds probably shouldn’t know. She knows the difference between concealment and cover. When we’re walking through a parking lot, she knows that daddy’s always looking for places for her to run and hide,” Thompson said. “She knows that if something bad happens in a parking lot, she hides at the front of the vehicle instead of the back of the vehicle because the engine block gives her a lot of protection. I’m ready to kind of get out of that light.”
Thompson said on average, a police chief stays in a job for three and a half years.
“I’ve been here 10 and a half. I’ve been preparing to lose this job since I started because I knew the political nature of it. And fortunately, that’s not happened,” Thompson said. “And I have found a lot of success. A lot of that success comes from the people that have worked for me, and the ones that will step up in my absence.”
Thompson told the Byram Board of Aldermen about his decision Thursday night. His last day with the department is March 26.
Though aldermen and the mayor will choose the next police chief, Thompson says he hopes the next hire will come from within the department.