Supervisors say for community’s sake, city’s radio traffic should be available to sheriff’s deputies

Published 4:45 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Discussion about crime in the community at the Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday morning led a renewed plea for the Natchez Police Department to share its radio communication with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve had a couple of killings. We’ve had a couple of people kill themselves and my problem is, I don’t hear nobody saying nothing,” said Ricky Gray, supervisor for District 4.

“The community isn’t saying nothing and we have people getting killed and people taking their own lives and we just act like we have the best community in the world. Something is wrong with that to me,” he said.

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District 5 Supervisor Warren Gaines said a recent report from the FBI ranked Natchez as the eighth most dangerous city in Mississippi.

“Our historic community is number 8 most dangerous city in Mississippi, according to the FBI. That’s really something that needs attention,” Gaines said.

He suggested the city’s mayor and aldermen and the board of supervisor, the sheriff’s office and police department and emergency management come together “and figure out a way to address this. We need some brainstorming together,” Gaines said.

District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins said residents often don’t come forward because of fear.

“Those people are scared to death, particularly in Holiday Apartments. These people hit the floor when the shooting starts,” she said.

Hutchins asked County Road Department Manager Robbie Dollar to find out what needs to be done to add lighting to dark areas at Holiday Apartments.

“There is a light out near Wilson Road near Holiday Apartments. They say it’s so dark there and they have all this shooting going on right there. I’ve asked Alderman Ben Davis about that light every time I see him, and he says they are working on it,” she said. “There are other dark areas there, too. Those people over there are scared to death.”

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten reminded supervisors they have taken positive steps to deter crime in the county, mentioning the NOLA lighting project. He said those lights will begin being installed by Nov. 16.

“Y’all are playing the long game,” Patten said. Adams County Sheriff’s deputies are working to prevent crime by being active in patrolling the county and communicating with citizens.

Patten also said most of the cities on the FBI’s list of most dangerous in Mississippi are tourist towns.

“When you have tourists, you have money. When you have money flowing, you have crime. It is targeted crime,” he said.

Gray brought up an incident recently in which he said the community’s safety was at stake because the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is not able to hear the Natchez Police Department’s radio traffic.

“I was on my way home and went over the railroad tracks by West Funeral Home. I stopped at my shop to pick up some tires and I heard all of these shots. I then saw police cars going everywhere, and then I saw a sheriff’s car driving down the street like nothing was going on,” Gray said.

Patten said, “We can’t hear them. That’s the problem.”

“That’s a problem in this community and the community needs to know it,” Gray said. “We need everybody responding, not just the police. The person they were looking for could have drove up Martin Luther King right by the deputy, but the deputy didn’t know what they were looking for.”

Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Shane Daugherty responded that he has spoken with Annette Fells, manager of the E911 dispatchers, and told her to dispatch both city and county officers to every major crime event taking place in the city and the county.

“We have told her that we should be informed about any major crime in the city and the county. If there is an issue where the PD will not let us have the information, she needs to let us know,” Daugherty said. “These robberies that took place recently, we knew who it was, but we had no information passed to the sheriff’s office. There is definitely a communication issue that we need to fix.”

Gray asked Board President Wes Middleton to convene a meeting with Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson, Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry and himself and Patten in an attempt to come up with some kind of a solution to communication issues.

“I don’t have a problem with us switching our main channels,” Patten said. “But when they changed frequency, we lost their main channel. When you lock those frequencies, you can’t hear either one of them.

“I will say publicly, let’s swap channels so we can hear. They can have our main channel and we have their main channel. We just need to swap our main frequencies, and I’m open to that,” Patten said.