TUPELO • The Tupelo City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to confirm Jackie Clayton as the interim chief of the Tupelo Police Department.
Clayton, currently a deputy chief at the department, will replace outgoing Chief Bart Aguirre, who announced last month that he would retire from the department on June 30. Clayton’s interim position is effective July 1.
“Over the next two weeks, I’m going to try and learn all I can about some of the operations I’m not familiar with,” Clayton previously told the Daily Journal. “I plan to keep things going steady.”
Outgoing Mayor Jason Shelton appointed Clayton in the interim slot at the request of Mayor-elect Todd Jordan.
“He has an outstanding resume and outstanding service with the city of Tupelo,” Shelton said of Clayton.
Clayton first joined the police department in August 1979. Since then, he has been a patrolman, a shift captain and a major of operations. He became one of the department’s two deputy police chiefs in January 2020.
Clayton said he considers it “as an honor to be asked” to temporarily serve as chief. He intends to meet with the bulk of the police department at some point to discuss operations of the police department.
Clayton will not be in consideration to permanently serve as the next police chief because he is retiring from the department at the end of the year.
Jordan, in a previous written statement to the Daily Journal, said that Clayton has worked for the police department for more than 40 years and has worked his way up through the ranks.
“I support Mayor Shelton’s decision to name him as the Interim Chief,” Jordan said. “We look forward to beginning the formal process of hiring our next Chief of Police in July.”
Jordan will be sworn into office as the city’s 29th mayor on July 1. One of the major appointments Jordan will make is naming a permanent police chief to succeed Aguirre. Throughout his campaign Jordan has said he wants to use some type of independent task force to help him choose the city’s next police chief.
At a Daily Journal-sponsored debate on May 25, Jordan said he would utilize different independent task forces to help review submitted applications and determine which candidates should be considered for an interview.
Despite the Tupelo Police Department being a taxpayer-funded office, Jordan has repeatedly declined to describe what the makeup of the task forces would look like or who would serve on the task forces.
“I don’t want to put that out there just now,” Jordan told the Daily Journal on June 8 after he won the mayoral race. “But it’ll probably be some people from Tupelo and maybe some from out of Tupelo. I may reach out to some firms to help me with that process. I definitely want it unbiased.”