Sheriff’s office carries out Ronny Brown’s vision

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2009

NATCHEZ — As bugs and smoke from a grill filled the air Friday, members of the Adams County Sheriffs Office mingled with Kingston Road residents for a Neighborhood Watch cookout.

But the cookout was more than just a chance for law enforcement officials to meet community members — it was a chance for the ACSO to enact one of the late Sheriff Ronny Brown’s last community outreach programs he was working on before his death in March.

Interim Sheriff Angie Brown said her husband, an avid Neighborhood Watch proponent, was working on a way for the ACSO to become more involved with local Neighborhood Chapters in Adams County.

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“He liked the National Night Out Against Crime, but he wanted to be able to spend more time with people in the community, and here we are,” Brown said.

Deputy Chuck Latham said it was last November when Ronny Brown came up with the idea to host a series of cookouts with local Neighborhood Watch chapters.

At August’s Night Out Against Crime the ACSO and Natchez Police Department traditionally criss-cross the city and county meeting with the local chapters for 10 to 20 minutes.

“But that did not give us enough time to talk to the people,” Latham said. “We’d get there and then it’s almost time to go.”

Latham said Brown’s cookout plan allows the ACSO to spend time getting to know community members and hearing their concerns.

And so far the plan is working.

Friday’s cookout was attended by approximately 40 Kingston area residents.

Kingston Road resident Becky Lee said she liked the idea of getting to spend time with the ACSO and meeting more of her neighbors.

“It’s fun and educational and we’re getting to know each other,” Lee said.

And while Lee’s reaction was Brown’s intent, for some the cookout the event was more than just a way to meet community members.

Latham said he and Brown were coordinating dates for the cookouts the week before Brown’s March death.

“He was looking forward to this,” Latham said. “And this feels like we’re fulfilling his dream.”