Supervisor on drug task force: 'It is time we grow up'

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County supervisors say they're not happy about the recent spilt of the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County, and they plan to do something about it.

Moss Point and Pascagoula have both voted to officially pull out of the county-wide force and start their own unit. These actions follow an independent investigation into the July shooting at the task force office involving two agents.

Supervisor John McKay didn't hold back his frustration Monday when discussing the fall out within the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County.

"It is time we grow up and get back on the same team," Supervisor McKay said. "It appears to be in disarray."

The issues intensified last week when Moss Point and Pascagoula officials voted to back their chiefs in cutting ties with the task force and starting a new unit. That now leaves Ocean Springs and the sheriff's department on the old force. Gautier is still undecided.

"It is always better when you work together, ya know. They been working together and doing a good job. I don't fully understand what happened," Supervisor Barry Cumbest said.

The pull out comes weeks after the MBI probe concluded into a gun being fired at the task force office. But supervisors said they still feel two separate forces will create more problems in the county down the road.

"We are much better served by one task force than we are by a splintered one, serving Pascagoula and Moss Point, and the sheriff going into their jurisdiction," McKay said.

Supervisor McKay said he now plans to contact the sheriff, and also reach out to every chief in this county in hopes of everyone coming together at one table to talk about their problems.

"Start acting like adults, if you will. Come to resolution to what are the things that cause the separation, solve those problems, and then move forward," said McKay.

But even the supervisors admit that won't be easy.

"Hopefully we can get this worked out. It is too important for the county not to, and it affects all of us," Cumbest said.

Sheriff Mike Byrd had some strong words about the split, releasing this comment to the media Monday afternoon: "Enough is enough. They are beating a horse that is already dead. I don't feel like anything was kept from anyone. When I was asked about this, I showed the chiefs the reports. This was a personnel issue that was handled in accordance of our procedures and policies.

It says in the NTF agreement that we are each responsible for the management of our own employees. The chiefs do not tell me when they have a shooting at their department. There have been several, including a shooting at the FBI office in Pascagoula and I was never called.

Mr. McKay needs to worry about being a supervisor and not try to be the Sheriff of Jackson County.

One NTF agent is gone from Moss Point and one NTF agent is gone from Pascagoula. I have already replaced them and we are not missing a beat. The cities and the county are being served on the best possible level. We arrested a dozen people Saturday in Moss Point connected to drugs and a gambling house.

This has turned out to be purely political. All of my opponents are in the Pascagoula Police Department and now go figure."

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