If you haven’t committed a crime or been the victim of one, you may not be aware there are some serious problems in the Sheriff’s Office today. Let me start by telling you why I got interested in this race.
A friend of mine served on a jury for a significant murder case. When the trial was over, this friend was absolutely livid and called to tell me we had to have a new Sheriff. Apparently, the work done on this case by the Sheriff’s Office was so shoddy that a person possibly guilty of murder got off scott free. That is pretty serious stuff!
As I looked into it, it became apparent that the problem was INEXPERIENCE – they’re just plain incompetent. When he became Sheriff, Ronny Brown had no law enforcement experience. He claimed he did, but he just worked in Parole and Probation, which, I’m sorry, is definitely not law enforcement.
So what did this inexperienced Sheriff do right after he was elected? Fired most of the experienced, competent staff and replaced them with his buddies. After all, loyalty to him was more important than any knowledge or experience. This was the first not smart thing he did.
Ronny hadn’t been in office a year when a prisoner died while in his custody. Her parents have filed a federal law suit against him, and people say they have a good chance of winning some big bucks. Guess who’ll pay for that? We will, as taxpayers.
That’s not the only cost to taxpayers. Ronny spent more than any Sheriff ever, mostly in administrative costs. So far he’s spent about a million and half dollars more than the previous Sheriff. Ronny just had to buy eight new cars last year – and then he bought eight more this year. He was driving a brand new Ford Expedition SUV while the Chief of Natchez Police drives an old Ford Taurus. There is one place Ronny has saved money though – the narcotics unit. Why does that not make me feel good?
If you check the State Auditor's Report for the first year Ronny was Sheriff, you’ll see he was cited for not giving the County the money he collected in fees in a timely fashion. He was also cited for not following the proper procedures for spending money. However, he promised to do better. Now check the audit for the following year. He’s still not paying the money he’s collected to the County as required by law, and he’s also cited again for not spending taxpayer money in the manner required by law – 32 times!. But not to worry, he promised again to do better. Somehow I just don’t believe him. (The latest audits are not available online for me to check.) This sounds suspiciously like someone else we know.
Another thing is very troubling to me. Apparently, his employees have been threatening and intimidating voters who dared to support his opponent, Charles Woods. The Sheriff’s Office has a lot of power, and abuse of that power for political purposes is abhorrent.
My final concern about Ronny is not major, but it bothers me. It’s the way he looks and dresses. He’d be perfect to play the Sheriff in Mississippi Burning. Although I hate to cast aspersions on someone for the way they look, I do think image is important. Say what you will about Tommy Ferrell, he always dressed the part.
In my next article, I’ll tell you why his opponent, Charles Woods, is the person to vote for on August 7.