Sheriff Clark: Deputies have worked tirelessly
When Eric Clark took the Sheriff’s office in December of 2019, his first goal was to learn from his neighbors and see what he could pick up from their years of experience.
Of those, none made a larger mark than long-tenured Leake County lawman Greg Waggoner. Sheriff Waggoner who at the time had led a 20-year career as the Leake County Sheriff and was preparing for his retirement at the end of the year when he was contacted by Clark.
“I have talked to Eric several times,” Waggoner said. “I think he is a great person and has been a great sheriff and will continue to be a great one. He has the mindset that he wants to help people. I am honored he wanted to talk to me and am glad to call him a friend."
Clark said he learned many things from Waggoner, but one of the more concrete takeaways he had came from an observation he made in Waggoner’s lobby.
“I noticed a bulletin board in the lobby that was spattered with newspaper clippings related to the Sheriff’s Office,” Clark said. “I knew instantly that this was something that I wanted to include in my office.”
The recently cleared 2020 board reflected a year Clark described as “busy.” These included 718 traffic citations issued by deputies, 445 misdemeanor arrests, and 259 felony arrests, Clark said.
“Deputies have worked tirelessly to slow the property crimes and fight the war on drugs.”
He added that in addition to pure arrest numbers, the board resented 4,400 calls to 911 and countless more made to personal cell phones and non-emergency lines.
“We ask for continued support as we strive to make Neshoba County a ‘Safer Place to Live,’” Clark said.
Clark said that he hopes to begin replacing his aging fleet of vehicles this year. Currently, their fleet of vehicles average between 6 and 7 years old and have an average of 129,600 miles on them.
Clark said that his office currently has four of five expected new Ford Explorer Police Interceptors at the Neshoba County Unit Building waiting to be outfitted and cleared for the road. Clark said he does not know when he will be able to introduce these vehicles but said that he expects it to be soon.
“The deputies have hope of much-needed vehicles on the horizon,” Clark said.
After a fresh coat of paint went up in the lobby of the Neshoba County Detention Center shortly after Clark took office, He put up a big cork board to pin his now newspaper clippings, printed out stories and other records of cleared cases and successful arrests.
Clark calls it his “Waggoner Board.” He said it is an important reminder to anyone who comes into the Sheriff’s office that they are hard at work.
“This board signifies a ‘Better and Safer Neshoba County,’” Clark said. “It shows the effort Neshoba Deputies exert daily as they provide protection for the citizens.”
During 2020 Clark and deputies filled the board. On January 1, that board was cleared for a new year of accomplishments.
“We will work diligently all year, with the hopes of filling the board with clippings of accomplishments made by our deputies,” Clark said.
When Waggoner was asked about his namesake all he could do was laugh. He said that his board in Leake County went up shortly after he took office. He does not remember whose idea it was but said it quickly caught on and eventually warranted a bigger corkboard.
“It was just a way to keep up with what we did and offer a visual reminder to the public or anyone who came into our office to see what was happening,” Waggoner said.
Waggoner said he was surprised but appreciative and said that it spoke to one of Clark’s best leadership qualities in his instinct to give everyone credit when a job was completed.