- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Malcolm McMillin, who did double duty as sheriff of Mississippi’s largest county and police chief of its largest city, died Thursday at a hospital in Jackson. He was 72.

McMillin had been ill the past several months, said Steve Pickett, his former chief deputy and now head of the state Parole Board.

McMillin was a Jackson police officer and already well known locally as an actor when he was elected Hinds County sheriff in 1991.

While still sheriff, he was appointed Jackson police chief in November 2007 by then-Mayor Frank Melton, a former TV executive who had won support with brash on-air commentaries about cracking down on crime. Before Melton chose McMillin as chief, the sheriff’s staff had twice arrested the mayor - once after Melton was charged with malicious mischief, burglary and carrying a gun on school property; and again on a parole violation.

Starting his new job as chief, McMillin acknowledged he and Melton were both strong-willed.

“I won’t tell him how to be the mayor and he won’t tell me how to be the chief,” McMillin said.

He held both law enforcement jobs until April 2009, when he resigned as chief.

Also in 2009, McMillin joined the cast of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, reprising the role of Big Daddy that he had played decades earlier.

“I did it as a favor to somebody 30 years ago when I was really too young to do the part,” McMillin told WLBT-TV (https://bit.ly/2i6AdV2 ). “Now I’m the same age as the character, I think I better understand what he was about.”

Though he had previously been re-elected by wide margins, McMillin was unseated by Tyrone Lewis in the 2011 Democratic primary for sheriff. Lewis went on to serve one term as sheriff.

McMillin was appointed a member of the State Parole Board in 2012 by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, serving for a year.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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