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GPD Traffic Unit at the Veterans' Day Parade. Photo by Albert Henrion

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Gulfport Police Fallen Officer Memorial

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About Us

The Gulfport Police Department provides traditional police services to the citizens of Gulfport, MS. The Gulf Coast Beaches, Casino Gaming, Fishing, Golf, The University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are just some of the area attractions. Sitting on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Gulfport Police Department has 201 sworn personnel and 92 civilian staff to serve a population of 80,000 and a daily population of over 144,000.

We will be a resource to the community for the education, safety, and welfare of all people. We are committed to the prevention of crime and the preservation of peace. We will honor that pledge through respect for human dignity and a strong ethical code as custodians of law and order.

 

Command Staff:

 

personel bio picLeonard Papania - Chief of Police: Chief Leonard Papania is a 1984 graduate of St. John High School in Gulfport. He graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice.  Leonard Papania first joined the Gulfport Police Department in April 1991 as a reserve police officer. He served in this capacity until November 1994, when he was hired as a full time police officer.  In 1995 he became a field training officer. He was assigned to the Proactive Unit, a street level criminal interdiction unit in 1996. This assignment included becoming a member of the Gulfport Police Tactical Entry Team.  In 1997 he was assigned as a Narcotics Detective with an assignment to the Street Level Narcotics Investigative Unit. In 1998 he was assigned to the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team where he was sworn in as a Task Force Agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.  In 1999 he was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Gulf coast HIDTA where he was sworn in as a DEA Task Force Agent. During his assignment he became certified through the DEA as a clan laboratory investigator. Also during this time he became a member of the Gulfport Tactical Sniper Team.  In 2002 he received a promotion to Detective Sergeant and was assigned to the Gulfport Police Department Special Investigative Services. In 2004 he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant and assigned as the Officer in Charge of Special Investigative Services.  In February, 2006 Lt. Papania was promoted to the rank of Commander over the Operations Bureau by Chief of Police Alan Weatherford.  In 2007 he graduated from the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course in Louisville, Kentucky.  In July, 2009 he was appointed to Deputy Chief of Police. In May of 2013 he was appointed to Chief of Police.

 

personel bio picChris Loposser - Deputy Chief of Police: Deputy Chief Chris Loposser is a 1989 graduate of Gulfport High School. He graduated with honors from the University of Mississippi earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Legal Systems Administration in 1993. Chris Loposser was hired as a full time police officer in October of 1994. He attended the Harrison County Law Enforcement Academy in 1995 and received the Larkin Smith award as the Honor graduate. In 1995, he was assigned as a Detective in the Department’s Narcotics Unit and as a member of the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team as a Task Force Agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. In 1996, Detective Loposser was placed on the Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. He remained on the team for twelve years, ultimately being assigned as the Tactical Team Commander while a Detective Lieutenant. In 1997, he was assigned as a Task Force Officer with the U.S. Customs Service. This ultimately led to an assignment as a charter member of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force where he was sworn in as a DEA Task Force Agent. In 2000, he received a promotion to Detective Sergeant and was assigned to the Gulfport Police Department’s Narcotics Division. In 2002, Sergeant Loposser attended the Drug Unit Commander’s Academy at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Quantico, Virginia, where he was elected President of his class. In 2003, he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant in the Narcotics Division. In 2004, Lt. Loposser graduated from the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In 2006, Lt. Loposser was assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Bureau of Operations. In February, 2007, Lt. Loposser was promoted to the rank of Captain and placed in charge of patrol and investigative personnel in District 1. In 2008, he graduated from the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville as the honor graduate. In 2009, Captain Loposser was tasked to lead the newly formed Special Enforcement Division of the Gulfport Police Department. In May, 2011 he was appointed to the position of Commander over the Operations Bureau by Chief of Police Alan Weatherford. In May of 2013 he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of Police by Chief Papania.

personel bio picKen Brown - Commander of Operations: Commander Ken Brown is a 1986 graduate of Petal High School. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice in 1991 with a minor in Forensic Science. Ken Brown was hired as a full time police officer in January of 1994. He attended the Harrison County Law Enforcement Academy in 1994. In 1995, he was assigned to the Department’s Proactive Enforcement Unit and the Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. In 1997, he was assigned to the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. In 2000, he was promoted to Detective Sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division. In 2003, he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division. In 2004, Lt. Brown graduated from the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In 2006, Lt. Brown was assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Division in District 1. In 2009, Lt. Brown was assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Department’s Professional Standards Unit. In July of 2010, Lt. Brown was assigned as the acting Officer in Charge of District 1 and in October 2010 he was promoted to the rank of Captain and remained the Officer in Charge of District 1. In 2011, he graduated from the Southern Police Institute 125th Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville. In May, 2013 he was appointed to the position of Commander over the Operations Bureau by Chief of Police Leonard Papania.

personel bio picKlain Garriga - Commander of Support: Commander Garriga is a 20 Year Veteran of the Gulfport Police Department. Commander Klain Garriga began his career as a Gulfport Police Reserve Officer in 1991. During his career he has served the Gulfport Police Department in the Patrol Division, Traffic Division, Training Division, and as Officer in Charge of the Administrative Services Division. He is a 1990 graduate of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach. He is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute’s Command Officers Course from the University of Louisville, Winter Park, FL. He has completed numerous Law Enforcement training courses during his career, specializing in Police Motorcycle Operation, Use of Force, Law Enforcement Liability, Workers Compensation and Police Supervision. Commander Garriga also serves as the department’s liaison to FEMA and MEMA for loss recovery following declared disasters. Commander Garriga is a Gulfport Native and a third generation Gulfport Police Officer. In August of 2013 he was appointed Commander of the Support Bureau by Chief Leonard Papania.

personel bio picMark Burns - Deputy Commander of Operations: Deputy Commander Mark Burns graduated from Harrison Central High School in 1975. He graduated with honors from University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business. Mark Burns was hired July 1989 as a full time police officer with Gulfport Police Department. He attended and graduated the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy at USM Gulf Park Campus in November 1989. Mark Burns was assigned to the Gulfport Police Tactical Team from 1991 until 1993. He was promoted to Sergeant in the Patrol Division in 1994 and assigned to the newly annexed area of Gulfport. Mark Burns was promoted to Lieutenant in the Patrol Division in 1998. He was promoted to District Captain in the Operations Bureau in 2000. Mark Burns attended and graduated the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2006. He was promoted to Officer in Charge of Uniformed Patrol in 2006. Mark Burns was appointed to Deputy Commander of Operations in 2011 Chief Alan Weatherford. He was appointed again in May 2013 by Chief Leonard Papania.

personel bio picCraig Petersen - Captain, OIC District One:Captain Craig Petersen is a 16 year veteran officer of the Gulfport Police Department. He began his career in June of 1997 as a patrol officer and transferred to the detective division in May of 2000. He was promoted to Detective Sergeant in the Criminal Investigations Division in November of 2002 and was promoted to Detective Lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division in January of 2005. In July of 2007 he was appointed as the Officer-In-Charge of the Detective Division for the Second District. In October of 2011 he was promoted to the rank of District Captain, and appointed as the Officer in Charge of the Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigations Division for the city’s Second District. In May of 2013, he was assigned as the Officer in charge of the Patrol Division and Criminal Investigations Division of the city’s First District. Captain Petersen is a 1985 Graduate of Gosnell High School, located in Gosnell Arkansas. Captain Petersen attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and in graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration. He earned a Master's Degree in 2009 from Delta State University in Social Justice and Criminology. In 2005, Captain Petersen graduated from the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy (Fourth Session) held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Captain Petersen is also a 2011 graduate of the FBI National Academy (245th Session) in Quantico Virginia. Captain Petersen is also employed as an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he has served as an instructor in Criminal Investigations, Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Police Organization and Administration, Criminology, Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Transportation and Border Security.

personel bio picNeal Stachura - Captain, OIC District Two: Captain Neal Stachura is a 1991 graduate of Gulfport High School. He graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College earning an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2001. Neal Stachura was hired as a full time police officer in December of 1993. He attended the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1994. In 1995, he was assigned to the departments K-9 unit where he served until 2003. In 1996, K-9 Officer Stachura was placed on the Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. In 2003, he was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to the patrol division. In 2005, Sergeant Stachura was promoted to Lieutenant in the patrol division. In 2006, Lieutenant Stachura was placed in charge of the department’s fleet maintenance and technical services. In 2009, he graduated from the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course at the University of Louisville. In 2009, Lieutenant Stachura was placed in charge of the department’s dispatch center. In 2010, Lieutenant Stachura was placed back in the department’s patrol division. In 2011, he was promoted to position of Captain of Special Enforcement Services. In 2013, Captain Stachura was assigned to be the OIC of District Two.

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