Frank Melton wants to be mayor of Jackson. Melton is running for the office because he says he wants to see more visible improvements in Jackson, knows who’s responsible for the city’s crime-ridden underbelly and, simply, needs to stay busy.
He has been characterized as hard charging, passionate and impulsive. With a bullet-resistant vest strapped on, he has led members of a state agency on questionable traffic checkpoints under the noses of state lawmakers. Yet he also has paid college tuition for more than 100 teenagers.
He lives in northeast Jackson, in a sprawling $352,000 brick home – with an indoor pool and private theater – with kids he took in to keep their lives from coming apart. It’s a crew that requires its own driver for school mornings and a hungry group that makes a local grocery store manager happy.
Melton, 55, has been in Jackson 21 years. Since his arrival in 1984, he has gone from a television executive to philanthropist to anti-crime czar. He has plastered alleged drug dealers’ names and faces on billboards around town, taken over city blocks at a time with gun-wielding state agents and paid for poor children’s funerals.