New sheriff takes over in Harrison County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New sheriff takes over in Harrison County

Troy Peterson during his swearing in ceremony as Harrison County's sheriff. (Photo source: WLOX News) Troy Peterson during his swearing in ceremony as Harrison County's sheriff. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Monday was the first day on the job for newly elected officials in Harrison County. Twenty public servants took the oath of office including Sheriff Troy Peterson. After a swearing in ceremony at the Harrison County Courthouse in the morning, hundreds gathered later on Monday at the Lyman Community Center to show their support and to congratulate the man elected to lead the county sheriff's department. As he started his time in office, this is how Troy Peterson described his top priority, "To cure one problem and that's to make sure the bad guy doesn't hurt us," Peterson said.

To accomplish that mission Peterson is putting together a plan for agencies from cities and counties across the coast to work together with him.

"There's no boundaries for criminals," said Peterson. "Jackson County line, Hancock County line, City of Gulfport or Biloxi wherever you may be there is no boundaries. If we don't work together then we're going to be the one's lost," Peterson.

One of the ways Peterson, a 27-year law enforcement veteran, would like to see his department working with other agencies is by creating a uniform policy concerning fleeing suspects.

"We want to mimic the coastal pursuit policies to where everybody has the same policy," said Peterson. "That's going to be very crucial for anybody on the coast that gets in a pursuit."

Also at Peterson's ceremony the officers now working under him took their oath to serve. The new sheriff promised positive change for his deputies in hopes of strengthening Harrison County Law Enforcement.

"If we hire 19 people, we lose 18," said Peterson. "The turnaround rate is very high and I want to maintain our retention rates. What I want to do is make sure our salaries are brought up to what is that of Biloxi and Gulfport. I want to be equal to them."

According to Peterson, he has meetings planned in the next several weeks with leaders from agencies across the coast to begin coordinating efforts. He replaces Melvin Brisolara who had been sheriff for the last eight years.

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