Sheriff at odds with supervisors over funding
Sheriff Eric Clark walked out of the Monday meeting of the Board of Supervisors after they refused again to approve the purchase of onboard computers for his fleet of patrol cars using $200,000 he procured from the state Legislature.
Clark said this is the “second meeting in a row” in which supervisors refused to approve the purchase of the computers and other equipment for his 20-vehicle fleet.
The Sheriff’s Office received $200,000 from the Legislature in July for the purchase of the computers, cameras, and other equipment for the vehicles, Clark said.
“These upgrades are non-budgeted items that will require outside funding,” Clark said.
According to Clark, the board told him they would decide what his department spent the money on.
Clark submitted a letter to the Legislature on Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office letterhead in January of this year.
The letter mentions the request is due to “an urgent need of police equipment” for his 18 full-time and four part-time law enforcement officers who patrol the 570 square miles of Neshoba County.
Clark’s letter included a “formal request” for funding to assist with the purchase of onboard computers, modems, and car cameras for 20 patrol cars.
Clark said the computers would include driver’s license scanners, printers, and the ability to file traffic citations over the Internet. He said they would also include in-car charging stations for deputy-worn body cameras that would upload footage and information to the department’s cloud computing storage while charging in the car. Clark said the upgrades would also allow deputies to access Flock cameras on roads from their in-vehicle computers.
He said these are quality-of-life improvements that will keep his officers on the road and keep them from having to come in on their day off to finish reports or submit tickets.
“This technology will help deputies tremendously,” Clark’s letter said.
He went on to say “This in turn will allow officers to spend more time patrolling our neighborhoods and businesses. Technology upgrades are necessary to provide an unbiased record of events that police officers encounter daily. These items will help enhance officer safety, improve agency accountability, reduce agency liability, improve community perceptions and enhance officer performance and professionalism.”