Brown, Mayfield outline solutions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NATCHEZ — Candidates for sheriff Ray Brown and Chuck Mayfield know change is coming, and each man wants to be the instigator.

Both candidates spoke before a crowd of nearly 100 people Monday night at a Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum.

“I plan to construct a department that will do the best for the community,” Brown said. “(My) one main goal is moving the community forward.”

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Brown said the key to his plans for running the sheriff’s office focus on bringing all aspects of law enforcement and members of the community together.

Through the implementation and continued efforts of programs such as Business Watch, Neighborhood Watch, D.A.R.E. and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Brown said he hopes to see a change in the community.

Mayfield said his experience and background in law enforcement are what makes him stand out from the pack.

“I’ve considered my background to be more diverse than any candidate in this race,” Mayfield said. “I’ve worked extensively with the state and worked cases with just about every agency you can imagine.”

Mayfield said be believes with the problems the county has experienced in recent years, it’s time to make some serious decisions — starting Nov. 24.

“Adams County stands at a crossroad. (The county) can be better or slip into something worse. I’m out here tonight as a candidate that can make things better,” Mayfield said.

Both candidates agreed that knowledge is the key to combating crime in the forms of drug use and gang activity.

Brown said education on such matters should be presented to children before they get caught up in illegal activities.

“We can educate our children about being drug and alcohol free,” Brown said. “Education is the key to it all. Until we can admit the problem we’re having in our community, we won’t be drug free.”

Brown said adults could learn about their children’s lives through paying attention to the outside influences they encounter every day.

“Let us not be blinded, but let us understand what our children are doing.”

Mayfield said children should be introduced to the truth about narcotics at an early age — first or second grade — but that mentoring was one of his preferred methods of education.

“You’ve got to educate (children and young adults) to make good choices,” Mayfield said.

Brown and Mayfield said if elected, one of their first jobs would be to interview all deputies to gauge their efficiency.

However, neither candidate said they foresaw a complete overhaul of the office.

“They are doing a good job, and until I present myself as sheriff, I’ll look into things that have been done,” Brown said.

Mayfield said he admires the continued efforts of deputies since the death of Sheriff Ronny Brown earlier this year.

“I think they’re doing a great job of holding (the office) down,” Mayfield said. “I’ve worked with most of these guys and have great respect for them. There will not be a mass firing. I’ve been a casualty in that situation and know how it feels.

“But if we could do as good of a job or a better job with fewer people, that might happen. We’ll just wait and see.”

The runoff is Nov. 24.

Absentee voting is ongoing at the circuit clerk’s office, and all voters, even those who did not vote in the first election, can vote in this runoff.