Bassfield disbands police department and municipal court - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Bassfield disbands police department and municipal court


The Bassfield Board of Alderman decided this week to disband their police department and municipal court. Mayor Patricia Courtney says it was an economic decision that will actually increase public safety.

Courtney says, "Financially we cannot afford to have a police department. It's a financial decision, a business decision and I feel good about that." Bassfield's police department has been supported by a law enforcement grant that has expired. The grant only provided part-time officers, which left the city vulnerable during off-duty hours.

According to the Mayor, "Of course when that grant ran out our coverage was just nothing."

The board of aldermen is all in favor of disbanding the part-time officers. The board is asking the sheriff's department to step in. Mayor Courtney says she's received unanimous support from the sheriff and the community.

"We're going to have a substation here and they're going to work right here out of our police department. It will be on this end of the county, we will have 24 hour coverage, and a deputy on duty at all times."

Not only a positive public safety measure, additionally court responsibilities would shift to the county and free up even more tax revenue for city projects. "As soon as we meet with the board of supervisors it will be official. We'll know for sure if they've accepted my request. I've spoken with Ron Strickland our sheriff, and also with the board of supervisors who are aware of our request and I'm getting positive feed back."

Courtney says the pending lay off's are regrettable, but it was the best decision for public safety and the budget. The Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors will take up the matter Wednesday.

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