Sean Tindell | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Sean Tindell

Photo courtesy State of Mississippi

Photo courtesy State of Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Sean Tindell of Gulfport is in line to become the new public safety commissioner in Mississippi.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced his nomination of Tindell on Wednesday. It must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Tindell served as a Republican in the Senate from 2012 until he was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Phil Bryant in 2017.

The previous public safety commissioner, Marshall Fisher, held the job from 2017 until the end of 2019. He retired as Bryant was preparing to end his second term. Reeves became governor in mid-January.

The commissioner is the head of the Department of Public Safety, which includes the Highway Patrol, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

The department also handles driver's license services, and licensing stations have had problems with long lines and long waiting times in recent years. Tindell said Wednesday that he will focus on fixing those problems.

“Nothing makes people madder than having to sit somewhere and wait three or four hours to get something they need," Tindell said.

Driver’s license offices have been closed for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Tindell acknowledged there will be a backlog of demand once they are allowed to reopen. Reeves said he is talking to health officials about when it might be safe to reopen those and other state offices.

Before Tindell was elected to the state Senate, he was an assistant district attorney for Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties. He also worked as a city prosecutor in Biloxi.

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