Deputy chief retiring after 25 years in BPD

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 13, 2015

Deputy chief retiring after 25 years in BPD

By John Howell
Batesville city officials are not only preparing for the Polar Express but also to fill a void that will be left in its police department with the retirement of its deputy chief, Don Province.

Province very subtly announced his intentions to retire in a letter to the mayor and aldermen a couple of months ago, stating that he would officially begin his retirement in January. However, with unused vacation and leave time, his last day at work will come later this month, which is why city officials are lining up his replacement.

“This has been a good place to work; this has been a good town to work for,” Province said.
The Quitman County native came to Batesville as a patrolman in 1990 after having served in that capacity with the Clarksdale Police Department since 1985.

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“I knew when I came here that it was my plan to retire here,” Province said. His marriage to Batesville native Shelley Neal in 1994 further grounded his local connections.

During his career, he’s filled most of the department’s slots except detective, he said.
“I can take it when a person lies to me, but I can’t take it when they keep on lying to me,” he said by way of explanation.

Province has seen the department grow with the town, now to twice the size he remembers during his first years.

Equipment has improved as well, the Deputy Chief said, most recently with the addition of body cameras worn by officers.

“The cameras were something we were looking at before the Ferguson, (MO) incident,” he said. “It’s been a great thing; a baseless complaint is just not going to work any more.”

Several BPD patrol vehicles are now equipped with “tag scanners” that alert officers to vehicles with flagged license plates, Province said. The taser has added a non-lethal option for officers facing confrontations.

“The citizens have been supportive of the police department, and I hope that will continue,” Province said. “We’ve tried to do our best.”

The law enforcement administrator praised the city’s mayor and aldermen for support.

“The city is good about funding the department (with resource officer in) your schools, special operations, the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the detective division,” Province said. The Special Operations Unit (SOU) that operates in conjunction with the Panola County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies in drug investigations also operates as a reserve of floating manpower to augment uniformed patrols, he said..

“We have our own dispatchers, and I think that helps us,” Province continued, describing a synergy between the communications officers and the patrol officers with whom they are in constant contact.

“They are a whole lot more essential than people give a dispatcher credit for.”

Oldest son Leighton Province lives in Jackson. Twins Colby and Shelby Province are freshmen at Northwest Community College where Colby has begun working a computer programming major; Shelby on a major in accounting.

“I didn’t want to stay until I fell over,” Province said of his retirement decision. “I wanted to just deal with my problems and not everybody else’s.”