City leaders announced Wednesday the new Chief of Police in Pine Bluff, taking over after the controversial firing for former chief John Howell.
Mayor Carl Redus had no comment about the situation surrounding Howell's firing, currently in litigation. He says the conversation should focus on the city's new chief and getting the community behind her.
Wednesday marked goodbye to Pine Bluff's Interim Police Chief Collier Hill. And hello to Brenda Davis Jones, the city's new permanent chief.
"We're talking days, I got a phone call, that lets me know it was for me, somebody calling that quickly," Jones said.
It's a perfect fit for the 48-year-old single mother of two boys from Macon, Georgia.
"The only bad thing I heard of was the crime and that's a doable thing, that can be fixed," Jones said.
Fixed she hopes working with her new staff and through her own experiences. Jones spent nearly 20 years with the Macon Police Department, rising from street patrol to major.
"I really want to bring our midnight basketball program here," Jones said.
It's a program Jones describes offering late night Saturday games for teens and young adults with required educational workshops.
"Those things worked effectively because we had the games at the peak time of crime," Jones said.
Most recently, Jones worked at Fort Valley State University in Georgia first as police chief. But later she stepped down to another role, a month after a controversial 2008 election celebration. Fort Valley City Police reported students setting fires and throwing bottles.
"It had nothing to do with me being moved. It had to do with there was a crowd of people on the campus and I thought it was overblown," Jones said.
She also says she changed jobs to spend more time pursuing a Masters in Public Administration.
Back in Pine Bluff, Jones told the crowd it's time to focus on the present and not look back.
Redus says Jones was the right pick for her strong investigative, leadership and community-building skills.
He also says she comes from a community with similar values and hopes she can use her university experience combating crime around UAPB.
Jones is reportedly the city's first female police chief.