djr-2020-01-18-news-verona-chief-arp1

New Verona Police Chief Marsenio Nunn hopes to change the perception of Verona as a dangerous place.

VERONA • The Verona Board of Aldermen put their trust in Marsenio Nunn Tuesday night to lead the police force.

In a split 3-2 vote, the board voted to name Nunn the town’s 14th police chief since 1985. The 26-year-old Booneville native has spent the last six years in law enforcement in Prentiss and Lee counties.

“When I got into law enforcement, I had my mind set on being a chief one day,” Nunn said. “I wanted to be in a leadership role and to be able to make a difference.

“I like the small town feel of Verona, where you can get out and meet people and get to know them on a personal level.”

Nunn actually joined the Verona Police Department in March 2019. He was hired the same day former Police Chief J.B. Long retired. Over the last 10 months patrolling the streets, Nunn has started to get a feel for the town of 3,000.

One thing he wants to do is change the perception of Verona. A string of shootings and other violent crime of the last few years had people thinking Verona is a dangerous place to live.

“I want the view to be more positive, “Nunn said. “One thing I will do is get my officers more involved in the community and to treat people with respect.

“I have visions of future events, especially things for teens. Most of the crimes are being committed by the same group of youthful offenders. I want to work with the judges to take care of repeat offenders, whether it is jail time or community service.”

Verona currently has 10 officers, including Nunn. He hopes to work with the board to hire additional officers to bolster the department. But he will still be out there patrolling the streets.

“I plan to be a hands-on chief,” Nunn said. “I am the face of the department. The people want to see and talk to the chief. I don’t expect my officers to do anything I wouldn’t do.”

While he is familiar with the police work side of the job, the administrative and budgeting side will be somewhat new. He said he worked closely with Booneville Police Chief Michael Ramey on some administrative projects and often attended board of aldermen meetings in Ramey’s place.

Nunn hopes that with the help of Assistant Police Chief Johnny Patterson and the assistance of the board of alderman they will be able to “turn things around.”

“The board and I are going to work together for the best benefit of Verona,” he said.

Nunn has worked as a security officer for the Booneville Housing Authority and as a reserve deputy for Prentiss County Sheriff Randy Tolar. He advanced to the rank of patrol sergeant at Booneville Police Department before taking the job with Verona last year.

william.moore@journalinc.com

Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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