Mayor Toby Barker Announces Next Chief of Police

Mayor Toby Barker Announces Next Chief of Police

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Monday, January 8, 2024, Mayor Toby Barker announced the appointment of Hardy Sims to serve as the next Chief of the Hattiesburg Police Department. Under Barker’s administration, he will lead the department of more than 150 officers and civilian employees.

This decision comes shortly after current Chief Peggy Sealy announced her retirement in December. Sims has served the City of Hattiesburg for 31 years, spending the last three as Assistant Chief – a position he was appointed to in 2021 when Sealy was appointed Chief.

Citing Sims collaborative approach to leadership with Sealy for many of the department’s successes throughout the last few years, Barker hopes to continue that trajectory with Sims at the reins.

“For more than 30 years, Hardy Sims has been a consistent and skilled law enforcement leader at the Hattiesburg Police Department,” Barker said. “In several tough situations, I have relied on his instincts and wise counsel. His experience, professionalism and knowledge of the community make him the right person to lead our department into the future.”

Sims began his career in law enforcement with the Hattiesburg Police Academy, graduating in 1992 and entering patrol. He spent two years on patrol before serving on the original Neighborhood Enhancement Team in Special Operations.

Later, he went on to work in a variety of divisions, including criminal investigations, community relations and serving as the department’s first public information officer. He was promoted to captain over patrol in 2003 and ascended to major of operations in 2004, where he served through 2020. He was appointed Assistant Chief in 2021.

“Chief Hardy Sims and I were classmates at the police academy in 1992,” Chief Peggy Sealy said. “I watched him grow in rank throughout his service with the Hattiesburg Police Department. He knows the community and is passionate about the city of Hattiesburg.”

“The police department will not miss a step with the transition and leadership of Sims,” Sealy added. “He will lead with integrity and continue to protect and serve our citizens with immense dedication as he has for over 30 years.”

As both a gifted and knowledgeable law enforcement officer, he is known for being able to execute a plan from start to finish, having productive dialogue with residents to solve problems and for enhancing the quality of life for residents through both operations and community-driven initiatives.

“I am committed to serving and protecting our community with unwavering dedication, integrity and transparency,” Sims said. “With a strong focus on community engagement and innovative strategies, we will strive to create a safer environment for everyone. As the new Chief of Police, I am eager to lead by example and work collaboratively to make a positive and lasting impact. I believe together, we can write a new chapter of safety and unity in our city.”

The nomination will be on the city council agenda for review and approval on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. If approved, Sims’ role as chief of police will begin on February 1, 2024.