Harrison Co. Sheriff Melvin Brisolara nears the finish line of h - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison Co. Sheriff Melvin Brisolara nears the finish line of his career

Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara. (Photo source: WLOX News) Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara. (Photo source: WLOX News)

Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara is preparing to hang up his badge. His final day in office will be Jan. 3, 2016. As he nears the finish line of his second term, he reflects on crucial parts of his career.

"I started in law enforcement in 1975 as a reserve officer. In 1977, I went to work for the Long Beach Police Department," said Brisolara.

After working his way up to manage the patrol division, he moved onto the sheriff's office in 1984, retiring in 2004.

In 2008, he was elected sheriff of Harrison County during a time he said communication and trust were lacking in the office and between agencies.

"Once we got the communications established and the trust with one another, we were able to move forward," said Brisolara.

He focused his attention on fixing problems at the jail and increasing patrols. Lifting the court decree that ended federal oversight of the county jail allows him to believe his administration was worth it.

"That was a national embarrassment to Harrison County. It made national news, and that was something we needed to get lifted so we could move on and start new ventures," said Brisolara.

He was able to do that by reducing the jails population, better training personnel and increasing security.

"This morning, we had 610 and reduced that count. When I took office, we were averaging about 1,100 a day," Brisolara said.

A narcotics division, increased patrols and raised salaries were all a product of his time in office, along with upgrades in technology.

"This is big business. It's got to be run like a business. My job as sheriff, I think all sheriff's need to take a look at this is to get all law enforcement the tools they need to do their job to keep a safe community and to make their job safe protecting them," he added.

As Brisolara prepares to pass the baton, he's getting ready for plenty of time with family and fishing.

So, what will he miss about the job?

"You know, the people that work with you. That will be the thing you miss the most," he said.

Prior to taking the title of sheriff, Brisolara was the administrative assistant for four sheriffs. He said one aspect he loved most about law enforcement was being a patrol officer.

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