Photo by Sue WatsonDwight Harris
Holly Springs police chief resigns
Holly Springs Police Chief Dwight Harris has resigned. He is leaving to take a job with the Olive Branch Police Department.
Harris was sworn in as chief in August 2014, after having worked on the force since 1999.
He is a graduate of Rust College and completed law enforcement certification at the Mississippi Police Academy.
Harris said when he took the position as chief he sensed a gap between the police force and the community, and he wanted to bridge that gap by bringing the community and police force closer. He wanted to produce positive role models for males, in particular, in an effort to encourage youth to avoid crime.
He thinks he has done that in his capacity as chief. And he is leaving with love for his work family and for the Holly Springs community.
“It’s been bitter sweet,” he said of leaving the city position.
Mayor Kelvin Buck, in a goodbye ceremony Friday at noon that was preceded by a drive-through parade, thanked Harris for his service.
“Your fellow officers have presented you this plaque as a symbol of the debt of gratitude for your leadership,” Buck said. “You guys work as a brotherhood due to your dedication and your commitment and your hard work.
“You’ve been tested. You’ve been battle-tested. As time has passed, you have stood tall and strong and we appreciate you and wish you the best.”
Harris said he has mixed emotions about moving on but he was given an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
“I didn’t expect this,” he said about the parade and the plaque honoring his service. “Words can’t express how I feel.”
He thanked Mayor Buck and the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen for the opportunity to serve, “because you believed in me.”
“They’ve always been in my corner. I hope I am leaving the department in better shape than when I came. We have changed our history.
“You can be creative in small departments, and we have formed partnerships with the citizens, who love us because they feel safe.”
Harris will continue to live in Holly Springs, where his wife Charisse works with the Holly Springs School District and where his two sons are in school. The Harrises also have a daughter studying at Rust College.
Harris thanked his wife of 19 years who he said is “still standing my me.” The chief is 49 as he steps into his new opportunity.
“If you guys need me, I’m still here,” he said. “I’m always accessible. Sometimes your life takes you in a different path and you have to follow your destiny.”
Assistant chief Darryl Bowens, who will serve as interim chief, said he and Harris have been working in law enforcement in the city for almost 20 years. They started out as patrolling officers.
“We never thought we would be running the department,” he said. “I’m going to miss him. I call him chief and he calls me chief chief.”
Det. M. Palmer expressed appreciation for being hired in Holly Springs after retiring from Shelby County, Tenn.
“You didn’t know me from a hill of beans and hired me,” he said. “I find people here who are genuine.” Harris will be taking online courses, working toward a master’s degree in leadership from Grantham University.
“That’s where preparation meets opportunity – in leadership training,” he said.
And he said he is humbled by his seven years as chief.
Buck again expressed his appreciation to Chief Harris.
“Chief Harris served this city with distinction and honor,” Buck said. “I thank him for his service and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.”
Ward 1 alderman Bernita Fountain said she was surprised at Harris’ resignation.
“Being in law enforcement for 26 years myself, I understand the challenges of the job,” she said. “I’ve always shared information and knowledge to support Chief Harris and the police department.
“It took me by surprise to receive the notification of the resignation of Chief Harris at the last minute, but I understand an officer must do what is best for himself and his family.
“I thank Chief Harris for his years of service as an officer and as the chief and wish him well.”