State Attorney General Mike Moore has been asked by George County and Lucedale officials to help deal with the area's drug problems and backlogged court cases. A letter, signed by all county and city officials, was sent to the attorney general on Thursday.
"Officials of the city and county are unanimous in their request for help,'' said Darwin Maples, attorney for the George County Board of Supervisors.
The attorney general was asked to provide sufficient personnel to assist in investigating, reviewing and processing "all criminal matters now pending or under consideration.''
Moore, a Pascagoula native who is a former district attorney for Jackson and George counties, said his office would work with local officials.
"When the folks back home need help, we're going to do all we can to help them,'' he said.
The request follows a recent meeting between Moore and a group of public officials and residents concerning the area's problems. At the meeting, Moore discussed a plan in which an undercover investigation is performed, arrests made, and trial date set within 90 days. The attorney general said that for such a plan to work, "there must be complete cooperation from all of the local law enforcement agencies.''
"I feel Mike is in earnest wanting to do this,'' said Lucedale Mayor Dayton Whites. "Every child we lose, we, as political figures, have that as a responsibility.'' District Attorney Keith Miller, who also signed the letter, agreed Moore has some good ideas.
"We need to put some pressure on the defendants,'' he said.
While there is a need for help with investigating and processing cases, Miller said his prosecution team was ready to deal with the cases.
"The docket is moving well. A large number of cases were disposed of in the last two or three court terms,'' Miller said. "I have my attorneys and investigators ready to go to George County, but it will require longer court terms to dispose of all the cases.''