New Tupelo Police Chief brings federal experience to the job

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – A veteran FBI Agent is now at the helm of the Tupelo Police Department.

Just days after retiring from the FBI, John Quaka was sworn in as Tupelo’s new Chief of Police.

But Chief Quaka had already been at work, meeting with leaders at TPD.

“I asked all supervisors to meet with me for about thirty minutes and give me a general overview of what their specific department does. I told them to keep it simple as if I didn’t know anything, ”Chief Quaka said.

Quaka spent twenty-six years as a special agent with the FBI, and he also has a law degree. In fact, he has taught constitutional law to cadets at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center for years. Quaka says he will use his law background in all aspects of his new role as chief.

“Well I plan on continuing to teach to cadets at the academy because I think that’s important for me to stay involved with the training part of it. But I think the law degree as a whole is going to be very beneficial to me in all aspects of the department. Not just teaching at the academy, but in procedures and policy as well, ”Quaka said.

One of Mayor Todd Jordan’s first priorities, when he took office this past summer, was filling the police chief’s spot, left open after longtime Chief Bart Aguirre retired. Mayor Jordan formed a search committee, which narrowed the field of candidates from eight to three. Mayor Jordan says Quaka was the best choice for chief.

“Twenty-six years and I have reached out to a lot of law enforcement agencies in North Mississippi, they have done the same, and I have yet to hear a negative comment, and that tells you a lot about his character, his professionalism, his work ethic, ”Mayor Jordan said.

Chief Quaka says he plans to build relationships with everyone at the police department, from supervisors to the patrol officers. The new chief also plans to do an assessment of all divisions in the coming weeks as he settles into his new role.

With a new police chief in place, Tupelo city leaders will now focus on finding a new leader for the fire department