A man with 16 years in law enforcement experience and more than 10 years of investigative experience in crime and narcotics has been named as the Assistant Chief of the Thomson Police Department.
“I am comfortable with managing chaos,” said Capt. Edward “E.J.” Bess, who is the liaison between the community and the police department. He is responsible for community policing and building more of a bridge between the 14-member police department and the citizens of Thomson.
Bess, 39, began his career in Thomson Sept 1 to help strengthen the department and the officers and assist in the efforts to eradicate crime and drugs from the neighborhoods in the city. He was sworn into office Sept. 5.
“I work for the police officers and I work for the community,” Bess said. “I am answerable to the officers, to Police Chief Anson Evans and to the citizens. If something goes wrong, people are going to look at me. That is the way it is and I am comfortable with that,” he said. “I am comfortable with managing the chaos when it arises.”
Bess came to the Thomson Police Department following a career in the DeKalb County Police Department and Alamo Police Department. He has served as a community-oriented police officer, a narcotics detective, vice and special operations detective, senior detective, and training officer at the DeKalb Police Academy.
Police Chief Evans began his Thomson career on June 1 and Bess joins the chief in his efforts to make the city of 6,778 people a safer and more peaceful place to live.
“I’m here,” he said. “I came to Thomson for better opportunities and to serve under the great leadership of Chief Evans. Evans is a former supervisor and he has been an inspiration to me for many years, especially when I started out as a young officer,” Bess said.
As assistant police chief, Bess will be over the uniform patrol division and over community policing efforts. “I will be the go-to between the citizens and the police department,” he said. “I will be the person making sure that the citizens and officers are getting along and that they have a good working relationship with one another,” Bess said. “I am going to be a part of the community.”
The police captain describes Thomson as a city filled with nice and courteous citizens. “It is a great community and I see a whole lot of development and growth potential here,” he said.
Bess believes he is a great fit for Thomson because he is a problem-solver, is methodical, fair and open-minded. He said he is one who likes to make big problems small. “I am a person who listens to everyone’s problems and have learned that when I listen to problems, we can all come to a fair resolution to any situation,” he said.
Bess described himself as approachable but yet a tactician. “Merging my characteristics and skills in Thomson is easy,” he said. “I am who I am. I do not have to come in and change a lot of things. I am not here to take over. I am here to help,” he said.
Bess wants the Thomson community to know that he is in town and available to the citizens. “I am available to them, will listen to them and help find resolution to their problems.”
His career as an undercover officer taught him how to compartmentalize and keep his private life separate from his professional life. He is a husband and father of four children, ranging in age from 4 to 14. The family will move from Jonesboro to Thomson when he finds a home.