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DSU Representatives Speak at Safety Summit

By June 15, 2023Faculty/Staff

CLEVELAND, Miss. — The Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Attorney General hosted the inaugural Mississippi Public Safety Summit May 8-10 in Flowood. The summit aimed to unite law enforcement, fire services, first responders, and those involved in the criminal justice process to network, learn and discuss pertinent issues and best practices. Delta State University Police Chief Jeff Johns and Interim Chair of the DSU Music Department Dr. Kent Wessinger both addressed the summit, which was attended by over 300 police chiefs, sheriffs, fire chiefs and leaders from state agencies.

Wessinger is the founder of Retention Partners, a Tampa-based consulting firm that uses Wessinger’s research into and proprietary information about the career patterns of millennials to guide employers across all industries in crafting policies to attract and retain quality employees. He addressed the attendees on day one, presenting a lecture titled, “Solving Your Workforce Crisis: The Accountability Structure that Fuels Your Success with Millennial Employees.”

Jenna Bass, Public Affairs Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said, “We’re really grateful to Dr. Wessinger for giving us his time and that he spoke to this group because attracting and retaining millennial employees is such a needed thing in the first responder world right now.”

DSU Police Chief Jeff Johns

Johns said, “It was a privilege to work with Jenna Bass on Mississippi’s inaugural Public Safety Summit. This gathering of police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, and state law enforcement to build on a foundation of working together has been a long time coming, and I so appreciate Commissioner Tindell for including me. Our DSU colleague Dr. Kent Wessinger greatly impacted the group about ‘Recruitment and Retention’ in today’s environment so much that we are working with him to rehabilitate public safety recruiting in Mississippi to help departments statewide.”

Johns spoke on day two, joining Steve Barnes, the former executive director of the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC) for a discussion about the value of association between the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the ROCIC. Johns is General Chair, University & College Section, for the IACP. He was elected in 2019 to serve as Vice-Chair and transitioned to General Chair during the 2022 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition.

Johns said, “Steve, who served as Gulfport Police Chief through Hurricane Katrina, talked on the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, an intelligence resource for Law Enforcement throughout the South. At the same time, I championed coming together as professionals in our state and global associations to solve common problems while standing together in the fight against crime in our communities.”

Bass said, “We are incredibly grateful for Delta State. Having Chief Johns and Dr. Wessinger here is the foundation for future partnerships between DSU, the Attorney General’s office, and the Department of Public Safety.”

For more information about future Mississippi Public Safety Summits, visit their website at For more information about Dr. Wessinger’s research, visit

For more information about the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, visit