JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Boosting morale in the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and unifying county law enforcers. Those are just a few improvements on Charles Britt's to do list. The Vancleave resident and former Biloxi Police Major was appointed and sworn in as interim sheriff Monday.
There was standing room only at the supervisors meeting as Britt officially took the oath of office.
"I am one of four constables in the county, and if you notice, we were all here today. We are just trying to get unity back in the department," Constable Shane Langfitt said.
Unity and leadership will be vital as sheriff, especially after taking over for Mike Byrd. Byrd recently pleaded guilty to a felony and state crime, then resigned.
"Everyone says there is a black cloud upon the sheriff's department. We know there are a few issues that came up that caused some image problems. I don't think it was the overall sheriff's department and it was not each and every guy. It was a few and we are going to look at those issues one by one," Britt said.
Britt was one of the top picks for Supervisor Troy Ross, who said there are key areas he wants to see improve within the department.
"One would be Human Resources. Make sure it is in line with federal and state laws. We need to find out how much equipment they have and what they really need." He [Britt] has a direction he can take us in to reduce overtime hours and that will save a lot," Supervisor Ross said.
Supervisors Melton Harris said Britt was not his first choice. But hopes the sheriff does a good job and focuses on reorganizing the countywide narcotics task force. It dissolved after a shooting cover-up in 2012.
"I think if he can find a way bring the task force back together again that will be an amazing accomplishment for him," Harris said.
Interim Sheriff Britt agrees.
"I think it will take some serious talks and serious conversations, but I feel it is going to come out well for the county."
Britt will serve as interim sheriff until November. That's when a special election will be held for the top law enforcer spot.