Tribe donates funds to law enforcement


The Philadelphia Police Department and the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office along with several county volunteer fire departments were among first responders receiving a donation from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians last week.

Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said that he knows exactly where this grant will be spent. Clark said he received about $10,000 from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and expects to use the funds to update TASERs for deputies department-wide.

“We need to update our tasers,” Clark said. “Most of what we have now is outdated or obsolete. We have had to put several to rest.”

He said that he expected to buy the tasers form Axon, the company that provides the body cameras for his department. The tasers and cameras will be linked, with cameras of all officers in the area being activated when a linked taser is used. He said that he is thankful for the money and that these tasers will protect his deputies.

Clark signaled his intent to buy body cameras in July when he told the county Board of Supervisors he would need $15,000 to purchase, implement and support the devices.

In early October he received at $13,650 grant from Weyerhaeuser that was spent on the cameras.

Interim Police Chief Eric Lyons said that they also received a grant. He said that the monies had not been specifically earmarked yet but would go toward equipment and training for Philadelphia Police.

“We appreciate Chief Ben and the Tribe for issuing these funds,” Lyons said. “We appreciate the continued support that we receive from them and continue to have a working relationship.”

Kemper County Sheriff James Moore said that he plans to put the money towards outfitting his fleet of vehicles with dashboard cameras and body cameras for deputies. He said that the grant came out to $10,000. He said the money likely would not cover his entire fleet and personnel but that he has money in his budget to make sure they are fully outfitted.

“I want to express my appreciation and thanks to the Tribe and (Tribal Chief) Cyrus Ben,” Moore said. “We will put every penny of this to a very good use.”

Ben presented donations on behalf of the Tribe to front-line service agencies in Mississippi who help support their Tribal communities in Neshoba County and other parts of the state. 

These donations were made from funds that are required to be used to promote tourism in our area.  

Since establishment of the Tourism Fund pursuant of the Tribal-State Gaming Compact, the Tribe has donated funds for over 25 years to local events, such as fairs and other tourism activities. 

During 2020, COVID necessitated the closure of Tribal gaming, recreational and other businesses, and the postponement or cancellation of large-scale tourism activities, such as the Choctaw Indian Fair, Neshoba County Fair and other social events. 

Funds normally earmarked for large-scale tourism events were not used for those purposes since those events were cancelled due to executive orders and Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Instead, some of those funds were donated to local front-line service agencies, who continuously work alongside the Choctaw Police Department and Choctaw Fire Department to help keep Tribal communities safe and promote tourism through effective law enforcement, fire and emergency responses.  

“Yakoki to our front-line service partners,” the Tribe said. “Thank you for all you do to assist in keeping our Tribal communities protected.”

The list of agencies who received donations:

Police Departments 

• Jones County Sheriff's Office

• Kemper County Sheriff's Office

• Leake County Sheriff's Office

• Neshoba County Sheriff's Office

• Newton County Sheriff's Office

• Winston County Sheriff’s Office

• Carthage Police Department

• Philadelphia Police Department

• Sandersville Police Department

Volunteer Fire Departments

• Carthage Fire Department

• Conehatta Fire Department

• East Neshoba Voluntary Fire Department

• Fairview Voluntary Fire Department

• Henning Voluntary Fire Department

• Hope Volunteer Fire Department

• Nanih Waiya Voluntary Fire Department

• Sandersville Fire Department

• Tucker Voluntary Fire Department

• Walnut Grove Voluntary Fire Department

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