Common Problems Unite Mississippi Sheriffs

Mississippi sheriffs say their yearly conferences offer them a chance to network and rediscover that their daily problems are universal. One of those that all the sheriffs agree needs to be solved is lack of radar on county roads.

Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber says, "We don't have a rural area in South Mississippi anymore. Even where you had rural areas, now you have subdivisions and all coming in. Like in my county you have Diamondhead, which is basically its own city. And the biggest complaint we receive out of Diamondhead is speeders."

Garber says the sheriff's association will unite again next year to push state lawmakers to pass a radar bill.

The sheriffs say lawmakers did help them out by making penalties stronger against people who make crystal meth.

Coahoma County Sheriff Andrew Thompson says, "I have to take my hat off to the legislature. They have responded to our needs. It's boiling down to manpower than funding to combat the problem. You just have to do the best you can with the funds and the resources that you have."

One of those resources is public service ads like those the Harrison County Sheriff's Department put together with federal money. Those dollars also go to each department to help with homeland security in the fight against terrorism and protecting first responders.

Sheriff Danny Rigel of Lamar County says, "We're doing stuff like chemical suits, personal protective stuff because law enforcement are first responders. If you're not prepared and you get there and get hurt, you're part of the problem rather than the cure."