Mayor James A. Young planned to ask the Board of Aldermen last night to close applications for a new police chief on Oct. 31, earlier than initially planned in wake of the recent shootings in the city, including one near an occupied Head Start center Monday morning.

The board had earlier planned to accept applications until Nov. 29.

"We have about seven applications and I think one or two more are coming in," Young said. "I'm going to ask the board to start interviewing the first of November. We don't need to wait another month to find another chief."

Police Chief Bill Cox resigned in August to accept a position with the Olive Branch Police Department.

"My ideal chief would be one, at this juncture, who has the courage to do what he knows is right," Young said. "I don't worry about feelings being hurt. I think it has got to be someone who can deal with the department in a way that is fair and policy driven."

Young said the PD was at a transitional stage.

"With the crime and the problems that we have, we can't have someone asleep at the wheel," he said. "We just can not."

Mayor Young urged community support for the police department and asked residents to report any criminal activity.

"I know people say 'if I call and come forward they are going to come back and get me,'" he said. "There is a fear factor but until we step forward and take back control, then we are going to lose our community. That's not something I want to see happen."