Law enforcement veteran Keith Davis will lead the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' Office of Marine Patrol beginning July 1st, Executive Director Jamie Miller announced Thursday.
"Chief Davis brings a wealth of law enforcement knowledge to our agency and has proven himself as a leader professionally," Miller said. "I hold our Marine Patrol officers to the highest standard and believe Keith will continue to develop them into the preeminent law enforcement agency in Mississippi."
Miller made the announcement during a press conference Thursday morning at the Biloxi Visitors Center. He was surrounded by police chiefs from across the Coast, many of whom have worked with Davis. When Miller made the announcement, Davis received a standing ovation.
Davis, 43, has worked in law enforcement on the Coast since 1993, including Gulfport Police, Harrison County Sheriff's Office, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, D'Iberville Police and most recently as Moss Point police chief.
While he was captain of investigations in D'Iberville, Davis was selected to attend the F.B.I. National Academy. Less than 1% of all law enforcement personnel are picked for that honor.
"First, I would like to thank Executive Director Jamie Miller for placing his confidence in my abilities in law enforcement and giving me the opportunity to lead the Office of Marine Patrol for the Department of Marine Resources," Davis said. "I am excited to be here and to work with the Marine Patrol officers, D.M.R. employees and the community.
"We want to foster important partnerships with our recreational and commercial fishing industry that are conducive to the protection of life and property, as well as the marine resources we all enjoy."
Elected officials and community leaders praised Davis for his accomplishments in law enforcement in the last 21 years.
"Congratulations to Chief Davis on being named chief of Marine Patrol," said state Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, chairman of the Ports and Marine Resources Committee. "His professionalism, integrity and reputation for getting the job done is well known to myself and others along the Coast. The Marine Patrol officers who enforce our laws and protect our waterways every day do a great job and deserve a well-qualified leader.
"Chief Davis' hiring, along with the passage this session of the D.M.R. Accountability and Reorganization Act, which made this position statutory, hopefully gives these officers, and other D.M.R. employees, the peace of mind they deserve, that being that D.M.R. will be an agency permanently located on the Coast."
State Rep. Casey Eure, R-Biloxi, who chairs the House of Representatives' Marine Resources Committee, said he thinks Davis is a great addition to the M.D.M.R. staff.
"He's a man of great integrity," Eure said. "His years of experience in law enforcement have benefited all areas of the Coast. I feel that D.M.R. is in need of a great leader to complement Jamie Miller. I think he will be a great addition to the D.M.R. team."
Davis will start July 1st. His salary is $70,000 annually.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the M.D.M.R. online at www.dmr.ms.gov.