New sheriff seeks partnerships

Published 12:13 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

NATCHEZ — Adams County Sheriff-elect Travis Patten wants the county to be the kind of place criminals out-and-out avoid.

To do that, the sheriff’s office is going to need the help of the entire community.

That’s the message Patten took to the Natchez Rotary Club Wednesday.

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“I would be lying if I told you the sheriff’s office could combat and defeat crime by itself,” he said.

“My ultimate goal is for Adams County to be an example of what can be achieved when the sheriff’s office and the community work together.”

Patten said he’s looking to form an advisory board of eight to 10 residents outside the sheriff’s office to bring community concerns to him and add an “attention to detail we need.”

“I want to bring a level of professionalism to the sheriff’s office that I think is lacking right now,” he said. “We have to build our relationships better in order to engage the community and eliminate this (criminal) element.”

Patten also said he’s been meeting with faith leaders in the community in an effort to form partnerships to mentor young men in how to apply and interview for jobs and how to behave once they have one.

He likewise said he wants to meet with business leaders to form internship programs to show youth what success looks like.

“When I look around this room, all I see is the wisdom you have from all you have achieved,” he said.

While partnerships with the community are important, Patten also said he wants to partner with the Natchez Police Department.

“I want to partner with the city — and I have already met with Chief (Danny) White and Mayor Butch Brown about it — to centralize our training so that it is uniform across the board,” he said. “You have got to train with the people you are going to work with, and right now there is no structure or order, so we have to get that, whether (officers) are wearing blue or brown.”

Patten said he has selected a team that is working on a plan to revamp the Natchez-Adams County Metro Narcotics Division.

“I have talked with the judges, the district attorney, the assistant district attorney, to find out what they need to prosecute cases,” he said. “Often cases are not well put together, and sometimes they know that if this case goes to trial you are going to lose, so they let them plea to a lesser charge so they can get something on paper about this guy.”

Patten said his philosophy is that in a position such as sheriff, one has to carry themselves in a way that encourages success in others as well.

Patten said he believes when the sheriff’s office is transparent and has open lines of communication, “then the citizens will win, and the sheriff’s office will win.”