JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - When a new administration takes over in state leadership, it’s common that some people leave their appointed posts. That happened this week when Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher announced his retirement and the head of the Department of Corrections, Pelicia Hall, announced her resignation.
Commissioners Fisher and Hall may be wonderful people, but the results at the divisions under their watch have been anything but positive. The Driver’s License program is severely broken, the state crime lab still has significant delays and our prison system is a disaster. This week alone three people have died in state prisons.
However, it’s not the Commissioners who should shoulder all the blame. The legislature should be taken to task regarding funding. The pay for corrections officers and workers in the Driver’s License operations is embarrassing. You will not attract higher caliber candidates, and improve performance and safety, paying minimum wage. And even though things have improved, the state crime lab still has a backlog of cases that could help solve crimes if more resources were provided.
Governor-elect Reeves will appoint new leadership to these posts and hopefully a new viewpoint and fresh perspective will lead to an improved performance. Rather than only looking internally, or rewarding a supporter or political ally, he should consider candidates outside the state who have experience and success that could be implemented here.
Things must improve with public safety in Mississippi. Hopefully the new Commissioners can quickly implement systems, plans and procedures to make that happen.