Sheriff’s office must enforce law

Published 12:19 am Sunday, January 25, 2009

A recent article on the Adventures page titled “Road warriors” would have been more aptly named “Road hazards.”

The story talked about four-wheelers driven illegally on public highways.

I live in Adams County, on Leesdale Loop. I have a Roxie address as far as the post office is concerned, but my house is within the Adams County line. Out-of-state game poachers have set up an elaborate hunting camp next to me, but only to hunt in nearby Franklin County.

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Several state agencies have and are still looking into the legality of their site and operation. They leave on their four-wheeler convoy well before daylight, come in near noon, then leave early afternoon and don’t return until 9 p.m. or later. Then there is a deer cleaning party with alcohol and loud noises.

Sheriff Ronny Brown, in the newspaper story, put up a smokescreen saying children are the ones driving four-wheelers on the highways. But poachers have an established pattern of illegal use of the public road.

The sheriff’s office has been constantly advised of their presence, and it shouldn’t be any problem to catch the poachers because the ACSO knows when the violators are in the act of breaking the law. I’ve been told several times, “There is no deputy to respond.”

Sheriff Brown stated in the article that he does not make a big deal if someone is riding a four-wheeler a very short distance “as long as they’re on the shoulder, we don’t fool with them,” he said.

Please come show me a shoulder on Leesdale Loop, or on any country road in Adams County.

Maybe our laws need to be revised to read, “You can break the law just a little bit and you won’t be fooled with.”

I am utterly astounded that Sheriff Brown untruthfully stated that my calls were because the lawbreakers were just crossing the street. First of all, Leesdale Loop has no cross streets, and secondly, they travel the road for several miles to get to their stands. They even drive into Franklin County.

Sheriff Brown told me personally on three different occasions that it is not illegal for four-wheelers to be on public roads. Why then would he choose “not to fool with them” if there is no law. A deputy came to my house and told me if I called the sheriff’s office again about four-wheelers, he would personally come slap cuffs on me, throw me in his car and take me to jail.

I personally reported this to Sheriff Brown the same day in his office. He said there was no incident report relating to the threat, but he would check into it.

To this date I have heard nothing else.

Statute 63-7-7, statute 63-13-3, statute 63-13-5, statute 29-19-5 and statute 27-19-131 used by Mississippi law enforcement agencies are inclusive of four-wheelers, even though the word four-wheeler is not specifically spelled out.

We need deputies to come out and talk to those breaking the law, yet I’ve never seen anyone doing so. We need prompt, strict law enforcement, not pre-judicial decisions as to whether to issue a citation or not to lawbreakers.

Johnny B. Ratcliff

Roxie resident