Adams County Sheriff candidates address issues in their own words

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Natchez Democrat

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Adams County voters will head to the polls in August to elect a sheriff.

Four candidates have qualified to run for the county’s top law enforcement job. Those in the race include — presented alphabetically — Randy Freeman, Chuck Mayfield, Travis Patten and Elvis Prater.

Voters have a responsibility to gather as much information as possible before casting a ballot, and plenty of you have been asking good questions. The Natchez Democrat polled the candidates with 10 questions, giving them two days to write out their own answers. While not all questions could be included in the print edition for space reasons, all 10 are available for review online at

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The answers you will read below and inside today’s edition are the candidates’ own words.

The election will be Aug. 4.

1. Why are you running and what makes you the most qualified candidate?

Freeman: I am a people person that listens to concerns of our citizens. I will be a full-time sheriff with an open-door policy, and I will return phone calls. I promise that I will be there when you need me. To be a good sheriff, you must be present for the job. My positive vision and direction for the sheriff’s office will provide for a more cohesive relationship between the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement and government agencies to create a stronger policing community.

I am the only candidate who was employed 30 continuous years with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. I have served in numerous capacities under five different sheriff’s administrations. I have two years of corrections experience at Louisiana State Penitentiary, and am completing my third term as constable (for the) southern district (of) Adams County. I am well known in the community for outreach programs I initiated which have been a tremendous benefit for the sheriff’s office and citizens of Adams County.

Mayfield: I am running for reelection as sheriff of Adams County because I was born and raised in Adams County and I have made it my passion and career to protect and serve the community. I trust in God that this is my calling from him. I am the most qualified of any other candidate as I have served in all aspects of law enforcement as well as the judiciary system. I have working experience as a jailer, patrolman, investigator, state narcotics agent, narcotics task force commander, youth court law enforcement liaison, director of mentoring children of prisoners and sheriff for the last six years. I have overseen 72 employees and a $5 million dollar budget and have come in under budget every year as well as great success in solving crimes for the whole community.

Patten: Throughout Adams County, the state of Mississippi and the rest of the nation, there seems to be a widespread disconnect between law enforcement and the communities that we are policing. We cannot continue to use the same tactics because our youth and other members of the community are dying or being incarcerated at an alarming rate. There’s a need now, more than ever, for young leaders who can communicate with both the youth and elderly, to stand up to save a generation. I feel that I am that leader and the time is now.

My military experience in the U.S. Navy gave me structure and discipline on how to deal with intense situations. Working in community development for the past eight years gave me the skills needed to build relationships within the diverse members of our great county and state. Furthermore, my eight years in finance have given me the knowledge, skill, and credential to manage and balance the budget. Additionally, my diverse law enforcement background gives me the qualifications needed to enforce the laws we are sworn to uphold and keep the people safe that we are sworn to protect. The diversity my experiences and knowledge make me the best-rounded candidate in this sheriff race.

Prater: I’m running for sheriff because our current approach towards law enforcement is not working and needs to be changed. Over the years we have noticed a trend in which violators are getting younger and younger. Just in the past year alone, we have experienced several murder cases in which the violators were teenagers. Another trend that is becoming a problem is the reluctance of citizens to pass on information to law enforcement officials. We must get back to the basics when the people and the police were one unit! Having obtained almost 20 years of law enforcement experience serving as a jailer, transport officer, court officer and criminal deputy in addition to my current position as a city police officer, I feel my work history speaks for itself. I have many skills and talents that qualify me but of those my most important asset is possessing the true spirit of a public servant. I am a person who is humbly willing to work with others and make personal sacrifices for the greater good of those he serves. With a proactive community policing style, I know we can make Natchez and Adams County safer and more productive community.


2. In the last year there has been discussion of the City of Natchez pulling out of the Metro Narcotics task force. Do you support the continued existence of Metro? What would you change about Metro, if anything?

Freeman: I do support and believe in the Metro Narcotics unit, however, changes must be made. We need a better working relationship between the sheriff’s office and police department for Metro to be effective. A stricter policy and accountability for evidence is essential. Ideas of joining forces with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics would benefit the unit and make it a more viable drug-fighting unit. Drug crimes in Adams County must be stopped!

Mayfield: I have vast experience in the administration of the Metro Narcotics unit. The unit has had a greater impact on the reduction in overall crime than any other single program. The unit is designed to be self-sufficient running on seizures and forfeitures from the drug dealers themselves as opposed to the taxpayers funding it. The policies and procedures were adopted from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and these policies and procedures have been in place since 1988. Without Metro Narcotics there would be a proliferation in drug activity. As a veteran of 17 years in narcotics enforcement before becoming sheriff I know without a doubt that to disband Metro Narcotics would be disastrous move for this community. As far as changing anything I would suggest that the city add additional officers as the county employs five and the city employs just one.

Patten: Yes, I support the continued existence of Metro. However, I would revamp the duties of those assigned to the unit. The unit would not only specialize in narcotics, but would also serve as a gang task force. My connections to the community will serve a conduit for this transition for the unit as well as a foundation upon which trust is built upon and upheld in the community.

Prater: Yes. I support the continued existence of Metro Narcotics! When elected sheriff, I will meet with city and county officials to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties. Under the current agreement the City does not receive anything from the seizures. I believe this is unfair, and I will ensure that it is changed.