Natchez police chief negotiating with Jefferson County jail

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018


NATCHEZ — Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong confirmed Tuesday he is negotiating with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to keep some city inmates in the Jefferson County Jail.

The deal, he said, would not affect a current agreement the Natchez Police Department has with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office to house city inmates at the Adams County Jail.

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“When we arrest people for violent crimes,” Armstrong said, “we can’t house them with nonviolent offenders. It kind of limits the space.”

Armstrong said having an arrangement with the Jefferson County Jail would give the Natchez Police Department a backup facility for when such occasions arise, citing the recent arrest of four men in connection with a drive-by shooting that killed a teenage girl in July.

Armstrong said those murder suspects could not be held together without jeopardizing the investigation and they could not be held with nonviolent offenders.

The Jefferson County Jail, Armstrong said, also could be utilized for city inmates who may be held for 30 to 90 days before having a court date and not take up space in the Adams County Jail.

When he was police chief in Vicksburg, Armstrong said he had an arrangement with Issaquena County to house some Vicksburg city inmates similar to the arrangement he is negotiating with Jefferson County.

Armstrong also said the Copiah County Jail has arrangements to take inmates from four surrounding entities to help alleviate overload in their facilities.

Otherwise, Armstrong said he is pleased with the arrangement with the Adams County Jail to house city inmates.

“This (the local agreement with Adams County’s Jail) is working extremely well for us, and it is convenient,” Armstrong said. “It’s logical to be able to house inmates here rather than anywhere else.”

Armstrong noted that many people talk about merging county and city operations and said the jail arrangement is a good example of consolidating county and city operations.

Armstrong said he obtained the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen’s approval in recent weeks to negotiate an arrangement

with Jefferson County that would cost in the ballpark of $28 to $30 per day, per inmate and other expenses such as medical needs.  The city’s agreement with Adams County Jail is $30 per day plus medical needs.

“This (an arrangement with Jefferson County) is just for situations where it may be detrimental or compromising to a case,” Armstrong said, “or if the numbers start to get high and have somebody incarcerated for a long period of time. That’s what I had in mind.”