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 167 sworn personnel and 57 civilian staff to serve a residential population of 71,750 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.

Perseverance, Integrity, and Honor – Protecting Gulfport since 1898


Command Staff

Leonard Papania

Chief of Police

Leonard PapaniaChief Leonard Papania is a 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. Chief 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.  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.  Chief Papania serves on the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Board and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

Chris Ryle

Deputy Chief of Police

Commander Chris Ryle is a 1989 graduate of St. John’s High School and is a lifelong residence of Gulfport, MS. Upon completion of high school he joined the United States Navy where he served until 1993 receiving an Honorable Discharge.  On January 04, 1998, Chris was hired by the Gulfport Police Department and attended the Harrison County Law Enforcement Academy.  Upon completion of the academy he was assigned to the Patrol Division.  In October 1999 Chris was assigned as a collateral duty to the Gulfport Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team as an entry team member.  In January 2001, Chris was assigned to the Pro-Active Unit until June of that same year where he returned to the Patrol Division as a Field Training Officer. In February 2003, Chris was assigned to the Criminal Investigation’s Division as a Detective.  In December 2007, he was promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant and held that position until January 2011, when he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant as the Officer-in-Charge of the Forensic Unit.  In October 2011, Chris was transferred back to the Criminal Investigation’s Division as the Officer-in-Charge of District Two.  In August 2012, Detective Lieutenant Ryle attended the 128th Administrative Officers Course of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville.  In January 2013, Chris was temporarily assigned as the Officer-in-Charge of the Professional Standards Unit until May 2013 where it became a permanent assignment.  In March 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and was the Officer-in-Charge of the newly formed Professional Standards Bureau which includes Internal Affairs, background investigations, training, accreditation, and policy.  In October 2016 he was appointed to the rank of Commander by Chief Leonard Papania. In January 2018 Commander Ryle was assigned to the Operations Bureau.

Commander Ryle holds an Associate’s of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master’s of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from American Military University. Commander Ryle is an Adjunct Professor in Criminal Justice with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and William Carey University.  Commander Ryle is currently in the United States Coast Guard Reserves holding the rank of Chief Petty Officer. In December 2018, Ryle was appointed as Deputy Chief of Police by Chief Leonard Papania.

Adam Cooper

Commander of Operations Bureau

Deputy Commander Adam Cooper is a 1989 Graduate of Gulfport High School. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Forensic Science.  Adam Cooper was hired by the Gulfport Police Department in 1995 as a Community Service Technician and then hired as a full time patrol officer in 1996.  He then attended and graduated the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997.  In 2000, he was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division with the rank of Detective.  In 2005, Adam Cooper was promoted to Detective Sergeant assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division.  In 2010, he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant and Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division for the first District.  In 2011, Adam Cooper attended and graduated from the Southern Police Institute’s Police Executive Leadership Graduate Program at the University of Louisville.  In 2015, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and made the Officer in Charge of Special Enforcement Division of the Gulfport Police Department.  Adam Cooper has also had numerous other collateral duty assignments during his tenure at the Gulfport Police Department. In January 2018, Adam Cooper was promoted to Deputy Commander and assigned to the Operations Bureau. In December 2018, Adam Cooper was appointed as Commander of the Operations Bureau.

Ken Brown

Commander of Professional Standards Bureau

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. Commander Brown attended the Leadership Gulf Coast Class of 2015 with the Mississippi Coast Chamber. In January 2018, Commander Brown was assigned to the Professional Standards Bureau.

Klain Garriga

Commander of Support Bureau

Klain GarrigaCommander 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.

Craig Petersen

Deputy Commander of Support Bureau

Deputy Commander Craig Petersen is a 20 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. In July of 2014, he was assigned as the OIC of the Investigative Services Unit which is comprised of the Criminal Investigations Division, the Narcotics Division, and the Forensics Division. In January 2018, Petersen was promoted to Deputy Commander and assigned to the Support Bureau.

Deputy Commander Petersen is a 1985 Graduate of Gosnell High School, located in Gosnell Arkansas. 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, Petersen graduated from the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy (Fourth Session) held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Petersen is also a 2011 graduate of the FBI National Academy (245th Session) in Quantico Virginia. Petersen currently serves at First Vice President of the FBI National Academy Associates-Mississippi Chapter. Petersen is also employed as an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and at William Carey University, where he teaches criminal justice courses.

Matt Thomas

Captain of Investigative Services

Captain Matt Thomas is a 1995 graduate of Harrison Central High School and a lifelong resident of Gulfport.  Thomas is a second generation Gulfport Police Officer.  Thomas began his career as a Police Officer in the Patrol Division in June 2000 and he is a March 2001 graduate of the Harrison County Law Enforcement Academy. Thomas became a Field Training Officer in July 2003 until February 2004 when he was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a Detective.  That same year Thomas was assigned to the Special Weapons and Tactics Team as a sniper and was later assigned as sniper team leader.   In December 2010 Thomas was promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant and held that position until July 2015 when he was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant as the Officer-In-Charge of the Criminal Investigations Division.  In May 2016 Thomas graduated the 135th Administrative Officers Course and Police Executive Leadership Program of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY.  In January 2018 Thomas was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned as Officer-In-Charge of Investigative Services.

Aaron Fore

OIC of Uniform Services

Captain Aaron Fore was born and raised in Gulfport and is a 1997 graduate of Christian Collegiate Academy in Gulfport. Captain Fore began his career as a Gulfport Police Officer in 2000 and graduated the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy in March 2001. Aaron Fore was assigned to the Special Weapons and Tactics unit in March 2003 where he served as a member of the Entry Team. Aaron Fore served the city of Gulfport as a patrol officer until April 2007, when he was promoted to the rank of Detective and transferred to the Narcotics Investigations Division. Aaron Fore was also promoted and assigned as the SWAT Entry Team Leader and Assistant SWAT Commander in 2007.  In October 2010, Aaron Fore was promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant in the Narcotics Investigations Division. In July 2015, he was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant and Officer in Charge of the Narcotics Division. In 2016, Aaron Fore attended and graduated the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Unit Commander’s Academy. In 2017, Aaron Fore attended and graduated from the Southern Police Institute’s 137th Administrative Officers Course and Police Executive Leadership Program at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. In July 2017, Aaron Fore was transferred to the Support Bureau and assigned as the Officer in Charge of Police Technology and Dispatch Center for the Gulfport Police Department. In January 2018, Aaron Fore was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned as the Officer in Charge of Uniform Services of the Gulfport Police Department.

Phillip Kincaid

OIC of Special Events

Captain Phillip Kincaid is a 1982 graduate of Southern High School in Racine Ohio. Upon completion of high school, he joined the United States Navy Seabees where he was stationed in Gulfport MS. Phillip served in the Navy for 20 years with distinction before retiring honorably in 2002 as a Navy Chief Petty Officer. Phillip first joined the Gulfport Police Department in September 1999 as a reserve police officer. He served in this capacity until March 2002 when he was hired as a full time police officer in the Operations Bureau. In July 2003, he became a field training officer. In February 2007, he was promoted to Sergeant. That same year, Phillip was assigned as one of the departments Crisis Negotiator’s on the department’s SWAT Team. In December 2010, Phillip was promoted to Lieutenant where he created the Special Events Division before eventually assuming command of both the Reserve Program and Traffic Division. Phillip changed duty assignments in May 2015 where he assumed duties as 2nd in command of the Professional Standards Bureau and was responsible for overseeing training, policy and planning and serving as the department’s Accreditation Manager. In late 2015, Phillip attended and graduated from the Southern Police Institute 134th Administrative Officers Course in Louisville, Kentucky and received the B. Edward Campbell Service Award. In January 2018, Phillip moved to the Support Bureau where he was appointed as the Officer-in-charge of Data Management and oversaw the day to day operations of both Dispatch and Records personnel. In December 2018, Phillip was promoted to the rank of Captain and reassigned to the Operations Bureau as the Officer-in-charge of the Special Events Division, Traffic Division and the departments Reserve Program.