City board approves new Asst. Chief of Police

Published 9:30 am Friday, February 16, 2024

Batesville aldermen on Thursday approved the promotion of Barry Thompson to Deputy Chief of Police. The naming of a new assistant is among the first personnel changes in the department as new Chief Dennis Darby organizes his staff.

Thompson is a 25-year law enforcement veteran, all in Panola County. The 1996 South Panola High School graduate began his career patrolling the streets of Sardis, then moved to the Sheriff’s Office in 2003 to work under the late Sheriff David Bryan.

He worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 20 years, mostly in the investigations division. When Darby lost the 2019 Sheriff’s race, Thompson transferred to the Batesville Police Dept. where his main duty was serving as the Code Enforcement officer since January of 2020.

Barry Thompson

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In that role, Thompson was responsible for identifying and prosecuting, if necessary, property owners in violation of city codes and ordinances such as overgrown yards and lots, excessive trash and debris, junk automobiles in driveways and front yards, and unsafe living conditions.

He said the experience of public interaction with often contentious issues was valuable training for the assistant cheif’s position.

“Over the past four years I’ve made a lot of contacts with people in the City of Batesville in my role to clean up the city,” Thompson said. “Tickets really aren’t my thing and I spent a lot of time working with people to get their property up to code and getting those kinds of things resolved helped me meet a lot of people and get to know a lot about the residents of Batesville.”

“I was doing my best to get the city clean but trying to help people and get a good resolution at the same time,” he said.

Thompson said he hoped to use the same approach in his new role.

“Chief Darby already told us that we will be out on the streets and riding all over town, and that’s good with me,” he said.