DeSoto team backs out of rescue training

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

DeSoto County officials will not provide search and rescue training in Natchez this weekend because Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell does not like the idea.

&uot;It would be improper for us to infringe on his jurisdiction,&uot; said T.H. Walker, emergency management director and commander of search and rescue for DeSoto County.

Last week, Ferrell said he does not think Adams County needs a search and rescue team because the Adams County Sheriff’s Department provides that service.

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Walker said he was not told his team could not come, but he was told Ferrell did not favor an Adams County Search and Rescue Team.

And &uot;we generally do not go head to head with an elected official in his own territory,&uot; Walker said.

DeSoto County planned to provide the training in Natchez because a group of local residents want to form a search and rescue team.

Don Winters, a volunteer for the Adams County team, said the residents — made up of firefighters, medical personnel and dog trainers — wanted to form the team as a resource for counties and parishes in the area.

The team members want to learn how to conduct ground or wilderness searches for missing people.

Winters said he is frustrated that the training has fallen through.

The Adams County team contacted DeSoto County officials because they have a well-established search and rescue team, said Ricky Stevens, a volunteer for the Adams County team.

DeSoto County offers a course in basic search and rescue, free of charge, around the state.

&uot;We created this course because it felt like something we needed,&uot; Walker said. The team later learned the course &uot;applied to everybody across the board.&uot;

Ferrell was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.