Adams County sheriff now liasion for regional law enforcement cooperation

Published 12:03 am Monday, May 16, 2016

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Sheriff’s Office will act as a rallying point in the coming months for regional law enforcement cooperation.

Sheriff Travis Patten has opted to serve as the law enforcement liaison for the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, meaning the ACSO is the contact point for other jurisdictions participating in OHS programs.

The ACSO hosted last week representatives for 14 law enforcement jurisdictions at its first liaison meeting, at which they discussed mobilizing for regional participation in the click it-or-ticket seat belt program.

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ACSO grant writer Chakatria Johnson said having everyone mobilize for the campaign — which will be May 23 through June 5 — helps with overall statistics for grant funding purposes.

OHS Director Penny Corn said the overall coordination between agencies is helping “keep our roads safe, not just for the citizens of Mississippi, but for the visitors and tourists who come into our borders.

“I am very excited to see all the agencies and departments (meeting together), because it takes all of us working collaboratively to make sure our roads are safe.”

In Mississippi in 2015, 56.2 percent of all roadway fatalities were from unbelted riders, OHS Division Director Twyla Jennings said.

Of the fatalities, 54.3 percent of drivers were unbelted, while 61.5 percent of passengers were.

In OHS district 9 — which is covered by Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M — two-thirds of fatalities were unbuckled.

“We need to get out there and let people know the rate the citizens of our state are dying just because they are not wearing a seat belt,” Jennings said.

Patten said the number of roadway fatalities in Adams County has risen in recent years, and his move to be a part of the collaborative effort — which will also include an anti-DUI campaign in the future — is part of addressing that. The last click it-or-ticket campaign in Adams County was in 2009.

“I told people in the community we would do the right thing, not the popular thing,” he said. “Tickets aren’t popular, but if I can save a life with it, I will do it.

“Our goal is to raise the standard to where our community not only notices, but all the surrounding counties notice as well.”

Jennings said the OHS reimburses the participating jurisdictions for overtime spent enforcing its different campaigns.