Jackson County officials tasked with selecting interim sheriff

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Now that former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd's law enforcement career is over, supervisors will have to begin the process of appointing a temporary chief law enforcer on Monday. Byrd pled guilty to felonies this week in federal and state court and resigned from office.

As Jackson County officials prepare to remove Mike Byrd's name off the sheriff's department's doors, they're also forming a plan on how to choose someone to replacement him.

"Nothing has been exactly formalized, but I am sure we go about deadline for applications," said Supervisor Melton Harris.

"We know the basic criteria we already put out there. We basically want someone with at least five years experience and they have to meet all the legal requirements to be a sheriff in Jackson County," said Supervisor John McKay.

Former fourth term sheriff Mike Byrd confessed to one count of witness tampering in federal court.

He also pled guilty to intimidating a witness as part of a plea deal with the state. Supervisors admit their new pick will not only have his or her hands full protecting and serving the county, but also providing leadership during a dark time for county law enforcement.

"We are going to have someone to put all the pieces together, work with the local police chiefs and the narcotics task force, which they have to try to put that together again," McKay said.

"I would like us to select the very best person to help us get back on track as soon possible and not anyone who has an opinion already formed.  We need someone who knows where the county needs to go and recover from the pit that we are in," Harris said.

The supervisors said the pool of applicants will be large.

"Being a sheriff in Jackson County is a great feather in any of their caps if they do a great job, which we hope they will and that is what we will be looking for," said McKay.

Once Byrd's name is finally removed from the sheriff's department doors and the supervisors appoint an interim sheriff, a special election will be held November 2014. The person elected will also serve the rest of Byrd's term until the next year.

"That is correct, there are already a lot of citizens calling saying what they are looking for in a sheriff," Harris said.

Deputy Chief Ken Broadus is currently the acting sheriff until supervisors pick an interim sheriff.  Jackson County's board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Monday in Pascagoula.

The board is also expected to award a construction contract for the long awaited jail project.

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