NPD going high-tech in crime fight

Published 12:33 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NATCHEZ — The grant coordinator for Adams County told the board of aldermen at their meeting Tuesday that the Natchez Police Department will be getting new state-of-the-art equipment.

Brett Brinegar said the Department of Public Safety will be awarding a grant for the purchase of a digital fingerprinting machine to the department.

Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said almost every department the size of Natchez is already using similar programs.

Email newsletter signup

As of now when a suspect is arrested his or her fingerprints are manually taken with ink and then mailed to a fingerprint database in Jackson to be cross-referenced against prints already on file.

Mullins said that process often takes about two weeks.

The new system would digitally record prints and send them instantly to Jackson as well as the FBI’s office to see if that person is wanted in connection with any other crimes.

Mullins also said the new equipment would allow for prints taken at a crime scene to be processed in the same fashion.

Also pertaining to crime in the Natchez area, alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis called on Natchez Police Commander Danny White for clarification on how many new officers would be joining the department.

Mathis said at a recent community crime meeting she attended residents were concerned that there were not enough officers on the streets.

White said it was his understanding that one new certified officer was to be hired this month while several tentative candidates would be taking preliminary examinations in the application process on Wednesday.

After the meeting Mullins confirmed that his office would be hiring one, possibly two, new certified officers this month.

Mullins also said that on Wednesday 23 new applicants would be taking their preliminary tests to become officers. Of those 23 Mullins said it’s likely that three will start academy training in January.

Mullins was quick to point out that even after an officer graduates from the police academy that officer must complete a rigorous training program with a seasoned officer.

Mullins said it would be months before the new hires are working the streets on their own.

Mathis said she wants to be sure that the police department has every available officer they have been budgeted for.

Director of planning and zoning Dennis Story brought the board up to speed on a temporarily halted drainage project.

Story told the board that work will resume on Zoa and Bluff streets on Nov. 26.

The contractor for the project, Dirt Works, located in Vicksburg, had to stop work because gas lines were in the way of construction.

Story said preliminary studies by Atmos showed the lines would not be problematic but only after digging started did they learn otherwise.

The lines have since been rerouted but the board did approve a four-week extension on the project and a $5,000 charge order.

The money to be given to Dirt Works was for remobilization of their equipment since the company did not want to leave their crew and equipment dormant at the closed site.

Story said the project will be completed on Dec. 21.