Long Beach police officers return to duty
By Dom Fimiano
Police Chief Billy Seal welcomed the return of four officers from temporary administrative leave on July 6. The police department has been operating with some officers working overtime. The department has been working to hire four additional officers before a staff shortage was created by two officers resigning to relocate. They left prior to four officers being placed on mandatory administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting.
On June 12, the Long Beach police were in pursuit of a domestic disturbance suspect when he fled to Gulfport. The chase ended at 37th Avenue and West Railroad Street in Gulfport with assistance from Gulfport police. The suspect attempted to flee and opened fire on police, injuring no one. The suspect was stopped and arrested. There were no officer-related injuries, and the suspect was taken to Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.
Mayor Bass stated the dispatcher, Amy Johnson, performed excellent work and remained calm throughout the stressful call at the time of the June 12 high speed chase when shots were fired at officers. Chief Seal agreed and thanked the Long Beach Police Force for their dedication and excellent work.
The department’s officer shortage was compounded when two officers left the department, and then four additional officers were placed on administrative leave for several weeks after the officer-involved shooting if the shooting, which injured the suspect, was proper procedure and justified action.
Seal said investigating officer-involved shootings with no officers injured, multiple police departments participating and no casualties with witnesses takes less time for officers to return.
The department has been in search of additional officers for months, but Seal unfortunately had to report to to Mayor Bass and the Board of Alderman that there were no qualified applicants in the spring. In July, the department made progress, and Chief Seal was able to inform the Mayor and Board of Alderman that he has some new potential officers being evaluated.