LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - As the city of Lumberton continues to search for a resolution to their financial situation, both the Lamar County's Sheriff's Department and the Board of Supervisors offer their support for the city finding their own solution.
Sheriff Danny Rigel explained that the city has its own police department for right now, and Lamar County simply cannot place officers in the city limits.
“From what I understand from yesterday, Mayor Winston was asking that we provide officers to police Lumberton and we're not able to do that,” the Sheriff says. “As far as assigning an officer to Lumberton, my budget has already been set, my budget went into effect the first of October and I've already got my allotment of officers. It would take additional man power, and I just don't have that man power.”
After the meeting yesterday, Board Supervisor Philip Carlisle made a point to express his concern about the situation.
“Nobody on our board is anti-Lumberton. Everybody wishes the best for Lumberton. It just that when you represent people, you're accountable to them we just have to make sure that we can explain why we do what we do monetarily,” said Carlisle.
Many residents of Lumberton have expressed dissatisfaction with the possibility of losing the city's police department. Mayor Ben Winston stated that all city employees will remain employed at least until after the holidays.
Sheriff Rigel said that no matter what the city decides to do about the police department, Lamar County will still do their part to protect all citizens of Lamar County.
“We're still going to be in the area, it's not going to like, be like Lumberton's not going to have police protection. We provide police protection all over the county. But we can't provide an officer to Sumrall; we can't assign an officer to Hattiesburg or Purvis, same thing with Lumberton. We can't assign an officer to the city limits. But we're responsible for 500 square miles including the parts of those cities that's in there. And we, we back them up,” said Rigel.