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Rural law enforcement task force hosts training session

NATCHEZ — Law enforcement officers from southwest Mississippi gathered Thursday and Friday to learn about gangs, methamphetamines and constitutional law.

The Mississippi Rural Law Enforcement Task Force offered two days of free training at the Adams County firing range for law enforcement officers in Natchez and 14 surrounding counties.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield estimated approximately 45 officers attended Friday’s training session, including 12 from ACSO.

Mayfield said the training program offered two identical days worth of training on in three areas.

The first area focused on fourth and fifth amendment issues relating to search and seizure and self-incrimination, which was led by Special Assistant Attorney General Jeff Klingfuss.

Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Agent Eddie Hawkins taught a lesson on “Meth in Mississippi,” which gave information about dangers of methamphetamine laboratories and ways to enforce laws against meth producers, distributors and users.

The last focus, taught by the 20th Judicial District Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators President Harold Gray, focused on basic gang awareness.

Mayfield said although the Natchez community does not have large amounts of gang problems, it was helpful to learn about the existence and trademarks of international and national gangs in order to better understand the nature of gang-related crime.

Although major gangs might not prowl around southwest Mississippi, Mayfield said mainstream gangs may have a presence at the Adams County Correctional Center.

The gang training instructed officers about deciphering tattoos and graffiti signifying gang affiliation, for instance, Mayfield said.

Mayfield said the training was the first of its kind to be hosted in southwest region of the state.

Gearing the free training toward the entire region, Mayfield said the program was beneficial for those officers in rural districts who would usually be unable to afford attending extra training at an out-of-town location.

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