Ben Williams, the new public information officer for the Mississippi Highway Patrol office in Greenwood, knows the public does not always have a positive impression of his organization.
“Especially when they see those blue lights behind them,” Williams said with a laugh.
His new job is to make the public see the good side of the Highway Patrol and to ensure accurate information gets to the media.
“I meet and greet and try to keep people happy,” he said.
Public information officer is the latest in a number of duties Williams has had in his 11½ years with the Highway Patrol. As a TAC officer, he trained new recruits. He was the deputy director for the northern region of Mississippi. He has been a field training officer, a law enforcement officer, a driving instructor and a firearms instructor. He also has been a member of the Highway Patrol honor guard for 11 years.
He accepted the position as the public information officer about two weeks ago and is still going through training.
He is looking forward to getting started in Greenwood, where he will take over the job from Jimmie Dale Thomas.
“Following Jimmie Dale's footsteps is going to be tough,” Williams said, “I consider him to be one of the best in the state. I'm just looking forward to stepping in and getting my feet wet.”
Thomas said he couldn't ask for a better replacement.
“Ben is a good leader. He handles the public well. He can teach and speak well. Those are the attributes you look for in a good public affairs officer,” Thomas said.
Williams is from Grenada, and he said he will continue to live there. He is married and has four sons and a daughter.