LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - By October 1, 2017, residents in Lamar County will see an increase in the number of deputies patrolling the streets.
The board of supervisors approved a 5.4 percent budget increase, allowing Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel to hire three new deputies to the force.
"We approached the board of supervisors and just showed them that we had a need for increased personnel and they granted it for the 2018 budget, and it's going to really help up out in the patrol division," said Rigel. "The growth of the county is unprecedented, and we need the manpower to cover the increase in population."
Lamar County Supervisors, Board President, Joe Bounds said he was in full support of the sheriff's department's request.
"We did support the sheriff's department in that, Lamar county being the growing county it is our population is increasing, we are looking for more deputies on the ground for the safety of the people," said Bounds.
"With the three new hires, at any given time that will give us six patrol officers on a patrol shift," said Rigel. "Because with in an increase in population you're going to have more people coming in, you're going to have more opportunities for crime, you just need more law enforcement to address that growth."
Rigel said when he took office in 2004, the department had 24 deputies, and with the recent increase, they are now up to 43.
When it comes to outfitting the new hires, Rigel said that's money the county will save.
"The budget parts is going to pay for the salary and benefits, but the equipment, we will be purchasing that out of forfeitures," said Rigel. "That includes the vehicles and all the equipment and everything, so that's not coming out of the budget, just the salaries that are coming out of budget."
Rigel said the department also uses grants to help with funding as well.
"One of the reasons people like to move to Lamar county, is because it's a safe county," said Rigel. "People want to come here for our schools, neighborhoods and things that the county has to offer, it's a great place to raise a family and live."
Rigel said the interview process for the new hires is already underway.
"We've already interviewed this week, and we hope to have them October 1 hitting the ground," said Rigel. "They will have a short stint with a Field Training Officer to get them up to speed with the county and the roads and things, but they will all likely be lateral hires that have plenty of experience and training."