JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In all, there are unofficially 28 new sheriffs in Mississippi’s 82 counties.
Some of those defeated incumbents, and some are coming in in the wake of a retiring sheriff.
Ryan Everett is the sheriff-elect in Lawrence County, having defeated incumbent sheriff Lessie Butler.
WLBT posed the statement to Everett: “So you’re a politician now...”
His answer was quick. “No ma’am, I’m not a politician. I’m a law man.”
Lawrence County is home to roughly 12,600 people. Interestingly enough, Everett’s goals are similar to those of Sheriff-elect Lee Vance, who will be protecting Hinds County’s 239,500.
Vance said he’ll have meetings with other agencies in the county about joining forces.
“Nobody ever has enough resources, and pooling resources in any time of effort is the smart thing to do,” Vance said.
Everett, who said he has plenty of people he’s not scared to ask for advice, says staffing will be a huge priority for him.
“Today’s climate in the law enforcement world, not everybody’s chomping at the bit, so to speak, to get into law enforcement,” he said.
Balancing the law and public opinion is also an area that takes effort, no matter how big your county is. Vance points to a system in Hinds County where it doesn’t seem enforcement, courts, and corrections are on the same page. He challenged the public to get involved.
“The public must hold each individual entity separately accountable for what they do and what they don’t do, and then whatever the problems are, we can look at those problems and try to solve them together," Vance said.
Everett said knowing when political pressure and public opinion is important is also key to the job in his eyes.
“A lot of times, law enforcement is 10 percent actual law enforcement and 90 percent dealing with the public,” Everett said. “At some point in time you’ve got to know when 10 percent is actually greater than 90 percent.”