JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – More than fifty residents heard from Jackson’s police chief and the interim sheriff of Hinds County during a Tuesday town hall aimed at addressing safety and security.
Police Chief James Davis and other members of the command staff reassured the public that they’re doing everything they can to address what he calls a “crime spree” in Belhaven.
One resident had concerns about the city’s 911 system.
Davis said the department has hired new dispatchers, and those response times are improving.
“We’re chasing gunshots all across the city, so it’s not that we are ignoring you,” Davis said. “If you can tell me when you [made the call], I will track it. But the problem has decreased tremendously.”
Davis said the city of Jackson needs a misdemeanor jail facility to be able to handle much of the law-breaking his officers see on a daily basis.
“When a person commits a misdemeanor crime in the city of Jackson, we give them a field release, a piece of paper, hoping that they show up for court. Many times they don’t show up for court. So as you can see across the city, you see people running red lights, stop signs. Now, these misdemeanor offenders are becoming more and more aggressive.”
Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay said Davis has the entire council behind him when it comes to future crimefighting measures.
“If it’s the jail you want, present it to us, give us something to react to,” Lindsay said. “We’re ready to do it.”
Interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler said the problem is more systemic in nature, pointing to Hinds County’s judges.
“The breakdown comes in the judicial system. The sentences given in Hinds County are laughable if it wasn’t so serious. I want to work with the judges. I want to be very clear about this, but I’m not gonna let law enforcement continue to take the heat on why criminals are walking out on the street.”
Davis said the department has been without a misdemeanor jail facility since March of last year, and his officers have had to field release over three thousand people because there’s simply no place to hold them.
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