James Davis retiring as chief of Jackson Police Dept.

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 11:15 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - After five years on the job, Jackson Police Chief James Davis is retiring.

He and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba made the announcement at a press conference on Friday.

Assistant Chief Joseph Wade has been appointed acting chief until a permanent replacement for Davis is found, Lumumba said.

Davis, who has been with the department for nearly 30 years, says his retirement is “five years overdue.”

“I said I was going to retire... when I made my 25 years,” he said. “So, I think now’s the perfect time to retire.”

“I’ve got a lot of things I want to explore. I’ve got a lot of commitments in the community, in Jackson, that I will continue to do, and work with the faith-based community,” he said. “And, of course, I haven’t had a day off since I’ve served as chief. When I’m thinking I’m off, the phone’s ringing.”

Davis was with the department for nearly 30 years, in a career that included milestones as a member of the JPD SWAT team and as the first African American to serve as rangemaster at the Jackson Police Training Academy.

Lumumba shared a list of the chief’s accomplishments during his tenure, including overseeing the construction of the Real-Time Command Center and the implementation of technology to limit police chases.

“I have found him to be sincere about the mission of protecting the residents of Jackson. I have found him to be selfless with his time, willing to not only dedicate more than his fair share of hours to this job but giving his personal information for residents to call and interact with him,” Lumumba said.

Davis was confirmed as chief in 2018 and again in 2021, amid a rising homicide rate. 2021 was the deadliest year on records for Jackson, with 160 homicides reported, according to WLBT figures. The following year, 138 were reported.

And despite having more recruit classes than previous chiefs, the department has seen a steady decrease in its ranks.

Davis, though, focused on the positive at Friday’s press conference, saying he gave all he could to the job. “I never buckled under the weight of the badge. I never ran from issues, I dealt with them,” he said. “So, I completed my journey here as police chief, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve.”

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