- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:


Sept. 8

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on attacks on police officers in state:

A seeming plague of attacks on police officers has found no area of the nation immune, including Northeast Mississippi.

In this corner of Mississippi, two police officers are recovering from attacks during their duty hours, and rewards appropriately have been posted in hopes of gaining information that will lead to apprehending suspects.

Corinth Police officer Kevin Parker Jr. was shot in the chest and the shoulder on Aug. 19. The Corinth Board of Aldermen and the Corinth/Alcorn business community have raised $23,000 for information leading to an arrest.

The fund will increase, Police Chief Ralph Dance said last week in an interview with Daily Journal reporter William Moore.

“We have another businessman who has pledged another $1,000, but he hasn’t signed the paperwork yet,” he said.

Parker’s bulletproof vest stopped the bullet into his chest. The other shot passed through his shoulder without striking bones, which helped his wound remain less severe than it could have been.

Even so, Parker remains on sick leave and will stay there for several more weeks under doctors’ orders.

“He went to the doctor Thursday, and he said it will be another four weeks before he can return to work,” Dance said.

On Aug. 24, Moore has reported, Monroe County deputy Eric Sloan stopped a motorcyclist near Okolona around 3 a.m. When Sloan approached, the biker turned and fired, striking the officer at least once in his protective vest.

“He was sore but he didn’t have any life-threatening physical injuries,” said Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell. “He’s not back on the job yet, he’s still going through some therapy.”

The middle-of-the-night shooting could have been much worse, but the assailant fled and remains unknown.

The Monroe County community has come together and raised $13,000 for information about the shooting.

The shooting looks suspiciously like the assailant was involved in something else criminal before the officer was shot, but that can be determined only after the person is identified and arrested.

It is often said by law enforcement officers and other people with responsibility for lives and property that nothing good happens between midnight and sunrise. The shooting of Officer Sloan falls into that conclusion.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is spearheading both investigations with assistance from the local departments.

“We’ve talked to a few suspects, but no one has been charged,” Dance said of the Corinth shooting.

In Monroe County, the identity of the shooter is still a mystery.

“We know no more now than we did that first day,” Cantrell said. “It’s like he disappeared.”

Rewards can open mouths in investigations, and a growing reward puts more pressure on people who know something to tell it.




Sept. 8

The Sun Herald, Gulfport, Mississippi on stun guns and law enforcement officers:

We have law enforcement’s back when it comes to subduing unruly and dangerous suspects with Tasers or other stun guns.

There is no question police, deputies, troopers and other law enforcement personnel have a tough, dangerous job.

Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks told crime reporter Robin Fitzgerald, “People are willing to fight with police for no reason at all, even over an expired driver’s license.”

Stun guns make the job less dangerous for both the suspect and the officer by taking the fight out of suspects.

Taser are one of the few options officers have when dealing with a person who refuses to comply with a reasonable request.

Police told Fitzgerald they can use verbal commands, their bodies, their guns, or their Tasers, which often are the least-dangerous option.

Law enforcement officers in South Mississippi used their stun guns at least 253 times in the past 20 months. We believe that likely saved lives.

“Our officers were hit, kicked, shot at and spit on,” Gulfport Chief Leonard Papania said. “Those 135 (who were stunned) were resistive, some being assaultive, and 89 fled.

“The Taser is a force option for compliance that tends to reduce injuries to police and tends to reduce the amount of force used on a person.”

And Tasers don’t have to be fired to de-escalate tense situations.

Biloxi police Maj. Jim Adamo said most people when they see an officer with a stun gun adopt a “Don’t Tase me” attitude. He said police pulled their Tasers 50 times but had to discharge them only half of those times.

“Most people who know about Tasers don’t want anything to do with it,” he said.

And, law enforcement agencies here are ahead of the curve when it comes to accountability. They require reports and reviews whenever a stun gun is fired. In Biloxi, Adamo said reports filed after Tasers are fired are reviewed by four members of the department.

Stun guns are expensive technology but considering what’s at stake, the lives of both the police and the suspects, it is a price we gladly pay.




Sept. 2

The Delta Democrat-Times, Greenville, Mississippi, on creating gated communities:

It’s sad to see another gated community soon to be formed in Greenville.

Or is it, really?

What gated communities often say to the outside world is: “We don’t want your kind here.”

And we, frankly, don’t see anything wrong in setting out a firm statement against the encroachment of unwanted crime and unnecessary traffic into a community.

It’s not people the communities seek to block, but criminals who seek to prey on areas of affluence and cars using the streets as a bypass.

But, it is sad to see the necessity of such a statement made in our fair city.

We know we live in a community rife with crime and there are certain protections taken against that crime.

We have the police to protect and serve, but often their presence alone isn’t enough to deter crime. They can work very hard to find the perpetrators.

We have neighborhood watches to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, but some crime still goes unseen. Those watches help band together a community.

And finally, we have fences to deter the unwanted intruders who stand ready in the night to do our property, and potentially our person, harm. Those fences encircle our homes.

We have, in this space, approved of other gating actions by neighborhood associations on public streets and do so again concerning the Bayou Road-area gating initiative.

We long again for the days when the gates to our communities can fall into disrepair and be left open for lack of need.

But those days aren’t here yet and we still have to do what we can to ensure our property and our person remain safe and secure in our own homes.



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