McKenzie’s acting police chief Ryan White, 41, officially became McKenzie’s police chief in a special called meeting of the McKenzie City Council Oct. 4.
He had been named the assistant chief about a month earlier and then from there he was chosen as the acting chief when Police Chief Craig Moates suddenly retired.
The council voted unanimously for White as police chief following an interview session with him an hour before the council meeting. Council member Bobby Young made the motion with council member Charles Pruneau seconding it.
A plus for White is the fact that he lives in McKenzie. He has been an officer with the McKenzie Police Department for 21 years and has served in every rank during that period. He has been a patrolman, corporal, sergeant, investigator, lieutenant, assistant chief and interim chief.
White pointed out that he had worked his way up. and had remained in McKenzie.
“My kids went to school here and graduated and I bought my house here,” he said.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about you,” said Young.
Pruneau asked about White’s goals for the future.
“I want to see officers out on the streets and visiting the schools and attending events of the town,” said White. “My number one goal is for the community to get to know the officers.”
Pruneau ask him to visit the businesses down town as well.
Council member Josephina Batton said as far as she was concerned she wants the police chief to establish a better working relationship with the police officers, treat them with respect and keep the pay rate up.
As far as his goals, White said he wants to bring more officers here and would like to retire in McKenzie.
“I’ve had several opportunities to leave but wanted to remain here,” he said. “I have wanted to be the chief ever since I started to work here.”
Council member Garrett Burns ask about White’s mentors
“I have established relationships with a number of police chiefs,” he said.
White said he wanted to offer the officers training.
White commented that he wanted the opportunity to build back the police department the way it once was.
“It’s important to bring certified officers here,” he said. “The department has good officers and a lot of young officers.”
Mayor Jill Holland said that a search for a new chief was discussed.
“But we have the best right here,” she said in speaking of White.
Ricky Price, a member of the audience, complimented the council’s decision on selecting White.
“We have a great chief now,” said Price. “We’ve got to promote within. We’ve lost officers for no reason.”