WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - When Waveland's police department will cease to exist remains unclear, but it's likely to happen in the next 24 hours. Waveland aldermen meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to consider a resolution to contract with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department to take over law enforcement duties inside the city limits.
WLOX.com has learned the move is expected to save Waveland a million dollars a year.
Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber told WLOX News Tuesday afternoon, he's been quickly coming up with a plan to add Waveland to his deputies duties. The sheriff said he'll assign eight deputies to Waveland, with two deputies working each shift. The sheriff shared that plan with two aldermen and the county's board attorney early Tuesday afternoon.
A day earlier, long-time police chief Jimmy Varnell was abruptly fired and escorted from his office. Varnell told WLOX News he was given a choice to retire of be fired.
Whether any current Waveland officers will be hired by the Sheriff's Department was unknown Tuesday afternoon. Waveland's city attorney Gary Yarborough told WLOX News "any hiring decisions would be up to the sheriff." Yarborough cautioned, nothing will move forward without approval from the Waveland Board of Aldermen.
Hancock County supervisors would also have to consent to taking on law enforcement duties for Waveland and funding would have to be secured to cover the extra cost. Supervisors are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning.
Hancock County Reporter Al Showers and news anchor Jeff Lawson will be at the 3:30 meeting. They'll bring us updates on WLOX News and WLOX.com.