Sheriff Could Take Over Long Beach Police

The Long Beach Police Department has been the focus of a lot of controversy lately and has had a difficult time keeping a police chief.

"They need somebody they can count on that will stay awhile," Long Beach resident Marianne Hatfield said.

Mayor Robert Bass thinks the Harrison County Sheriff's Department might be able to provide the stability and protection Long Beach needs.

"We're tying into a higher level of professional management and a more efficient law enforcement operation and I think that's an alternative citizens need to be afforded," he said.

Long Beach currently spends $2.4 million a year on law enforcement. Mayor Bass says the sheriff's department could likely do it cheaper. Long Beach residents are split on the idea.

"It definitely needs to be done," Long Beach resident Jackie Catlin said. "Soon as possible."

"I just like the local (police department)," said Kenneth Marie, also a Long Beach resident. "I like to keep our Long Beach Police Department in the hands of Long Beach, not the county."

"I think something needs to be done here," said Jim Beckman. "It's obvious something's gone wrong. Everybody knows it." But, he says, "I don't know about bringing the sheriff's department in. I don't know what we need to do, but I don't think that would resolve it."

Mayor Bass says he's looking for the best way to protect the city. He says there's no reason not to give the sheriff's department a try.

"The city of Long Beach is not looking for a handout," Mayor Bass said. "We're not asking for any kind of subsidy or to get some kind of financial consideration. Tell us what it would cost for you to be able to provide this service, we will sign on the bottom line and pay exactly 100 percent of the check."

No decisions are expected to be made at Tuesday's Board meeting. And the Harrison County Board of Supervisors would still have to give its approval before the move could happen.

If you're interested in attending the Board of Alderman meeting, it starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Long Beach City Hall.