Personality: Top Cop in Tallulah

Police Chief Zelma Wyche of sultry, deep-Delta Tallulah, La., looks and acts the archetypal Southern cop. There is the ample belly hanging over the gun belt as the massive, 6-ft. 2-in. figure swaggers down the sidewalk. There is the natty uniform with gold stars on a white starched shirt, a button open at the neck. And there is the amiable cockiness, the touch of braggadocio, the blunt cigar and the smile revealing two gold-crowned teeth. Only one anomaly destroys the stereotype: Chief Wyche is black.

Wyche took office as Tallulah's police chief last June 26, the only black to head...

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