Pickett to chair parole board, Townsend takes at-large position

October 10, 2013

Business, Legal Affairs

Butch Townsend

Butch Townsend

Steven Pickett

Steven Pickett

JACKSON, Mississippi – Gov. Phil Bryant selected Steven Pickett to chair the State Parole Board, and Butch Townsend is leaving the Pearl Police Department to serve as the board’s at-large member.

Pickett will replace the board’s current chairman, Doug Davis, who plans to resign Oct. 15 to become chief of staff for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Townsend was tapped for Pickett’s vacant at-large post.

The parole board is comprised of one chairman and four active members, each appointed at-large. The board meets weekly to review the cases of state offenders to determine parole eligibility

“I appreciate Doug’s service to the people of Mississippi and look forward to working with him in his new role,” Bryant said.

Pickett, who has served on the board since his original appointment on Nov. 10, 2012, will assume the chairmanship Oct. 16.

“Steven brings a vast amount of law enforcement experience to the Mississippi Parole Board and will make for a seamless transition as chairman,” Bryant said.

Bryant’s at-large appointment, Pearl Police Department Lieutenant Butch Townsend, is a third generation law enforcement officer with more than 35 years of experience. Townsend’s term begins Oct. 16.

Townsend has served the Pearl Police Department for 25 years in a variety of capacities, including chief of police, chief of detectives and senior investigator in both the Criminal Investigations Division and the Juvenile Division. He has served as the department’s public information officer since 2009.

Townsend has been recognized throughout his career for numerous accomplishments including Officer of the Year for the Pearl Police Department. He is one of the department’s most highly trained individuals with regard to juvenile and criminal investigations; he worked more than 550 cases while assigned to the juvenile division and more than 6,200 cases while assigned to the criminal investigations division.

“Butch’s seasoned law enforcement background and training will be instrumental to the board,” Gov. Bryant said.

Townsend holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a native of Brandon and is married to Dr. Sue Townsend. The Townsend’s have one child, Chelsea.

“I am honored to be appointed to this position by Governor Bryant,” Townsend said. “While I hate to leave the Pearl Police Department, I believe this is a unique opportunity to serve and bring my extensive law enforcement training to the table.”

Townsend’s appointment will be brought before the Mississippi Senate for confirmation during the 2014 legislative session. Pickett’s appointment as chairman does not require Senate confirmation.

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One Response to “Pickett to chair parole board, Townsend takes at-large position”

  1. Letha Graham Says:

    Hello I been trying to speak with someone about them releasing none violent Inmates.They were talking about it on the news. My husband is in MDOC and a none violent afender. While hes been in there he has had open heart sergery .A lot of Sugar Fibered.hes in bad shape. Was want to no if the parole board would check in to them releasing my husband under this new law or decision that they are trying to pass for none violent inmates. His name is Frank Lynn Graham #L7842. I’m his wife Letha Graham. Please could you at lease put him on the release form if this dose pass. I thank you so much. Please let me know are at lease tell me how are who to contract maybe a phone number or email address to someone who could help me. Thank you and God bless you for your help. Email me at lethagraham@ymail.com

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