JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Police chiefs in Jackson County say now that Mike Byrd has resigned, it's time to unify and restore trust during this dark time in law enforcement.
"Nobody is above the law."
Some of Mike Byrd's former law enforcement family members said the now ex-sheriff's guilty plea and resignation were long overdue.
"It is time for the county to move forward and it is time for Mike Byrd to move forward as well," Moss Point Police Chief Keith Davis said.
"Everyone is going to be held accountable, even the chief law enforcement of the county," Pascagoula Police Chief Kenny Johnson said.
The four term sheriff confessed to one count of intimidating a witness related to a shooting at the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force office last year. The chiefs of Moss Point, Pascagoula, and Gautier have long accused Byrd of trying to cover-up the incident.
"We know what had happen was incorrect and we could not stand behind it," said Elbin.
Shortly after the shooting, the chiefs cut ties with Byrd and started a new drug enforcement team.
"I knew we had to make some moves from the municipal because laws were broken and people sent us do a job. Before we go into office, we take an oath that we are up hold the laws of the state of Mississippi and all of the activities surrounding that shooting were in direct violation of those laws," Davis said.
The chiefs admit Byrd did do some good during his more than 40 year law enforcement career, but his illegal actions have now tarnished the badge.
"I spent many years as a rookie policeman serving Sheriff Byrd as a captain with the City of Gautier, and during those times I learned a lot from him. He was good, but sometimes in our career we do stumble and he was caught up and the law effectively did his job," Chief Dante Elbin said.
Now that Byrd's law enforcement career is over, the head law enforcers throughout Jackson County will focus on unifying the entire law enforcement community and regaining the public's trust.
"You cannot serve the people, if they don't trust you," Davis said.