After nearly two decades with the Greenwood Police Department, Terrence Craft has been chosen as its new chief.
“I want to thank the mayor and the City Council for this opportunity,” Craft told the council during its meeting Tuesday after it unanimously voted to appoint him as the city’s top cop. “This is a challenging time for law enforcement. I am more than ready to embrace it. You’ll find that my administration will be one based on respect, communication and collaboration. I will lead by a team approach.”
Craft is “very professional, very smart, very, very capable of doing this job,” Mayor Carolyn McAdams said before the meeting. “I really and truly think he has the opportunity to become one of the best chiefs Greenwood has ever had.”
The appointment of Craft, who was previously a captain, took effect immediately.
A native of Itta Bena, Craft, 39, has been with the department for 17 years. He started as a patrol officer, moved to the narcotics division and has guided the training and certification process for police officers and dispatchers. He has also helped with recruiting.
His predecessor, Jody Bradley, will remain with the department as an executive administrator, a managerial role that entails overseeing the budget and accreditation, ordering equipment and providing press releases when required, the mayor said.
Bradley, 72, who was appointed chief by the council in late 2019, is not a certified police officer. The role of executive administrator does not require law enforcement certification, the mayor said.
Craft’s duties as chief will include managing the daily operations of the department related to public safety, such as organizing patrols, handing out assignments to officers and handling their promotions, McAdams said.
Craft told the council that based on the feedback he’s collected from the community, his administration will include four core values: professional accountability, community collaboration, crime management and employee wellness.
Professional accountability means the department will adopt a “customer-service mentality” in order to strengthen its appearances as well as its interactions with the community, he said.
On community collaboration, Craft said, “It is important that we partner with the community and create a sense of inclusiveness and not division. We are never going to move forward and build a positive relationship with our community until we recognize how the community wants to be policed.”
He added that his door will always be open to anyone in the community who wants to speak with him.
Crime management will entail increased patrols in neighborhoods as well as officers being “visible and vigilant,” Craft said.
He also noted, however, that “we cannot always arrest our way out of crime and quality of life issues in our community.” He said they would have to “consider investment to examine other strategies” to prevent violent crimes.
Regarding employee wellness, Craft said that the human side of policing often gets overshadowed and that the men and women of the Greenwood Police Department “are humans just like the citizens we serve.”
He said that it is a challenging time to serve as a law enforcement officer, but he will work on recruitment and retention challenges within the department as well as offering competitive pay and benefits to officers.
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.