JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - In May 2008, Jackson Police Precinct 4 Commander Kenneth Goodrum received an award for having the largest reduction in crime in any precinct. During a carjacking in another precinct earlier that week, he had helped save the lives of a woman and her baby, while risking his own. "Got into a fight in the front seat of the vehicle, spilled out the drivers side door onto the ground, through wrestling I ripped his shirt off," Goodrum told WLBT News at the scene of that crime.
But now, that celebrated commander has been yanked out of Precinct 4, which covers northeast Jackson, and reassigned to the position of sergeant in south Jackson's Precinct 1.
"It's not a demotion," says Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman, referring to it as part of a realignment of staff.
But judge for yourself. Goodrum will take a $10,000 pay cut - a huge hit since his wife is currently unemployed, he told us by phone Friday.
But his attitude remains commendable. "I'm gonna work just as hard for (Precinct 1 Commander Donald) Gater as I have been working in Precinct 4," he tells us.
Buddy Graham lives and works in Precinct 4. As the moderator for Community Oriented Policing, or C.O.P.S., he knows Goodrum well and doesn't want to lose him. "He pulled a fella out from under the steps on my deck one morning at 2 a.m. I had no earthly idea what was going on," Graham says. "I think he's prone to working unusual times, and I think that's a matter of trying to be available, supportive of his staff."
As the dust settles, Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill believes he'll have plenty of unhappy constituents. "I'm in a fog as to who runs the police department," Weill says. "I'm sure the council will have a lot of questions about these."
Goodrum will work the evening shift as a Sergeant in Precinct 1. Precinct 5 Commander Wendell Watts will replace him in Precinct 4.
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