Chiefs give details of new drug task force - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier, Pascagoula, Moss Point chiefs give details of new task force

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JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Pascagoula, Moss Point and Gautier city leaders voted Tuesday night to join forces and start their own drug task force in Jackson County. All three cities cut ties with the county-wide force after a July shooting involving two agents was recently made public.  

After all the fallout from a failed mission with the Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County, the three top cops in the county are starting their own team. 

"Our unit will be called the Southeast Mississippi Metropolitan Enforcement Team. Initially, we will have four people assigned there full time," Pascagoula Police Chief Kenny Johnson said. 

With a new name also comes a new mission, which includes targeting more street level drug users and dealers in Moss Point, Pascagoula, and Gautier.  

"The drug dealers are keeping their drugs, money, and weapons in one city and coming to another and dealing, so this will give us opportunity to cross those borders legally," Johnson said. 

Drug forfeiture funds will be use to get the team started until the chiefs can get grant money.  They're also counting on their city leaders to support plan. 

"We have an awesome chance of succeeding," Dante Elbin said. 

This whole approval process comes days after a grand jury indicted the former commander of the county-wide task force on a misdemeanor assault charge for his role task in the July force shooting incident. 

"I feel like it is a disappointment that it occurred," Gautier Chief Dante Elbin said.  

"We want to make sure to distance ourselves from any issues," Moss Point Chief Keith Davis said.  

Chief Davis said this new unit will follow stricter rules. 

"The initial commander of this new 'MET' team will be a Pascagoula police officer, but that commander is responsible to the three chiefs you see sitting here today," Davis said. "I believe that commander will be in communications with each one of us on a daily basis and notify us of the activities the team if currently involved in."

Along with city leaders, the Attorney General will also have to approve a second task force in Jackson County. The chiefs also want the new task force team to go into schools and talk to teens about the importance of saying no to drugs. 

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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