STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — After nearly three months of not having a police chief, the city of Starkville has officially filled the vacant position.
Tuesday night, Starkville's Board of Aldermen approved Captain Frank Nichols as the new police chief.
"I'm very humbled," Nichols said. "I'm very grateful, and I'm so proud of the community and their support of me."
The position opened after former Chief David Lindley was placed on administrative leave by the board. It came as questions were raised about the handling of a reported hit and run involving his wife, then-Mississippi State University Police Chief Georgia Lindley.
On Tuesday night, the board interviewed three candidates in an open session.
One candidate was Fred Shelton, who has worked for the Columbus Police Department for more than 30 years.
The other candidate was Bobby Grimes, who most recently headed the narcotics unit in the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department.
Nichols was the only internal applicant.
"This new hire for the city is a great hire for us," said Vice Mayor Roy Perkins. "We have just voted for an exceptional candidate. Mr. Reynolds Frank Nichols is extremely qualified."
Nichols started with the Starkville Police Department in 1992, most recently serving as captain of operations.
Having worked in the department for more than 20 years, Nichols said he knows of ways to improve the department, including restructuring and involving the community.
"I plan on establishing a citizen's police academy where I get the citizens involved with the police and decision making," said Nichols.
The board voted six to one in favor of Nichols. Ward Three Alderman David Little was the only one to vote against the hire.
"The board, in my opinion, looked at his credentials, his education, military and law enforcement career, couple with his interview," Perkins explained. "He was dynamic. He did a great job, and he was a clear choice."
Nichols said he also wants pay raises for dispatch officers and wants to hire at least five additional police officers.
"I plan on giving the city the highest quality service that a police department can give," said Nichols.
The new chief will receive an annual salary of $73,500 and begins the job immediately.