Before Mike Byrd resigned as Sheriff, the Jackson County Task Force fell apart. Now, months later, Interim Sheriff Charles Britt is planning to bring the team back. Back in July, the department, then under Byrd, came under fire for trying to cover up a suspicious shooting in the Narcotics Task Force Office. City police departments backed out of the team soon after, and created their own. Now, all agencies in Jackson County have met in an effort to revamp the dissolved narcotics force. Law enforcement throughout Jackson County is once again teaming up in the fight against drugs. Britt says, “All of the agencies on the Coast, to this point, have come forward and given positive nods to the team, so we'll be back in the narcotics business full strength.”
The Sheriff's Office met with municipal police in the county to bring back the task force that dissolved under former Sheriff Byrd. Chief Keith Davis of the Moss Point Police Department says, “However, before we do that, there are certain legal matters that have to be ironed out, and that’s where we are.” The narcotics office disbanded months before former Sheriff Byrd tendered his resignation in mid-December. Ever since the disbandment, two certified narcotics agents have been handling all of the department's cases. Davis also says, “Whenever there are allegations being made about any law enforcement official, whether it’s a patrolman or a department head, it’s hard to deal with.” Chief Davis led the charge to open the investigation into the suspicious task force office shooting, a move he knew could ruffle a lot of feathers, but Davis says it was more important to keep his promise to the people.
Davis also says, “We took an oath to protect the Constitution, protect the laws of this state, and at the end of the day, as a law enforcement professional, I have to protect that Constitution.” After the team dissolved, Gautier, Pascagoula, and Moss Point formed their own narcotics force. Davis says it’s better for the taxpayers if they work together, and Interim Sheriff Britt looks forward to making it happen. Britt closes, “We got a memorandum understanding already in front of the attorneys that should be out in the next two to three weeks.”
Davis says that Britt will become a voting member on their existing task force and, along with Ocean Springs, they will better protect the county. Davis says all agency leaders, including Interim Sheriff Britt, made it clear what they wanted out of the new task force: to keep history from repeating itself.