Ferrell, longtime second-generation Adams County sheriff, dies

Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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Former longtime Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell has died.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson announced Ferrell’s death during the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, just minutes after announcing that former Natchez Mayor Larry L. “Butch” Brown had died.

Ferrell was a retired second-generation sheriff in Adams County.

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Ferrell began his law enforcement career in 1969 and retired in January 2004 after serving 35 years in law enforcement. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, he completed numerous federal and state training programs and was a federal expert witness in law enforcement and investigations, a certified firearms instructor and trainer and certified in rotor wing aircraft.

In addition to serving on various task forces at the state and federal levels, Ferrell was past-president of the National Sheriffs’ Association serving in 2002-2003. He served twice as president of the Mississippi Sheriffs Association and twice was elected president of the Mississippi Deputy Sheriffs Association.

He retired with the rank of colonel after 34 years of service from the U.S. Army, Military Police Branch, MSARNG. He was a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. He served with the Criminal Intelligence Division and was a former Military Police Investigator. Ferrell was presented more than 25 awards during his tenure in the military and held extensive commendations including overseas duty and natural disasters. Billy Neely, a chief deputy in the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, remembered Ferrell as “a good sheriff, a very thorough sheriff, and a good boss.”

Neely said Ferrell knew the law inside an out, having followed in the footsteps of his father, Sheriff Billy Ferrell.

“I came to the sheriff’s office in 1982 and Billy Ferrell retired in 1988. Tommy ran for sheriff in 1987 and became sheriff in 1988. He remained in office until 2003,” Neely said. “He was a good sheriff and a good boss. He was a military man and had been in the National Guard. He ran a tight ship, but was a good guy and a real good boss.”

Ferrell’s son, Ty, is self-employed and his daughter, Cricket, is an attorney and assistant vice principal at Adams County Christian School.

This is a developing story; we will update as information is available.