BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Crime Stoppers and the Mississippi State Department of Public Safety recently brought the law enforcement community together on the coast to help make Mississippi a safer place.
During the gathering, Lt. Col. Steve Maxwell with the Mississippi Narcotics Bureau delved into the dangerous world of synthetic drugs like spice and bath salts.
"There's nothing organic about them. There's nothing natural occurring. They are man made and manufactured primarily through a hodge podge of chemicals combined together and used," said Maxwell.
The use of the potentially deadly drugs is reaching epidemic proportions. The criminal elements behind the manufacture of the synthetic drugs have been able to skirt the law with creative packaging and marketing and police are cracking down.
"We have to remain current on our knowledge so we are able to work with legislators in order to craft laws that would encompass drugs as they come on line and the chemical components of these drugs," Maxwell said.
High profile cases around the country have created an anti police sentiment. Officers explored a serious subject that was dubbed 'The War on Law Enforcement'.
"The truth of the matter is law enforcement has, for hundreds of years, served our communities and served them well. While some bad things happen, things our community questions, for every bad thing there are thousands of interactions with officers that are positive every day," according to Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
Calhoun says the solution is to open lines of communication between police and the community.
"We need to engage in conversations with them. We need to make sure we're hearing what they have to say and that we're effectively making sure we're interacting with our community. That's not something you do after a critical event. It should be done everyday," Calhoun said.