JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More assistance could be coming to help the Capital City during this year’s historic spike in violent crime, with state enforcement agencies and lawmakers joining forces to help tackle the problem in Jackson and Hinds County.
State Sen. John Horhn (D-Jackson) said concern over the city’s escalating homicides prompted him to bring up the possibility of assistance during a budget meeting with Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell.
After the hearing, Horhn and other legislators met with the head of the state’s bureau of narcotics, senior DPS members and the assistant chief of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
“They expressed a desire to have more interagency cooperation between our local law enforcement, our local elected officials, and so forth. We have heard what they’ve had to say, we then plan to get with the local officials and see if we can bring these different groups together,” Horhn said. “At stake is the health and safety of our community. And we should not let jurisdictional lines get in the way of that.”
Horhn said those state enforcement agencies have had good conversations with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, but communications with the Jackson Police Department and local elected leadership have not been successful.
City Council President Aaron Banks said the city needs that help, noting the city council unanimously passed a resolution last week asking for county, state and federal assistance.
“I welcome any help from state agencies to address the problem we have with violent crime in the Capital City," Banks said.
Horhn said he knows in the past, Jackson leaders have had issues when different jurisdictions came into the city to help.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst repeatedly offered federal help to the city of Jackson, but it took more than a month before an agreement was reached and resolutions from the city council were sent to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.
“In some cases, it’s been a resistance on the part of elected leadership. Sometimes it’s the mayor, sometimes it’s members of the city council. Sometimes it’s the law enforcement entities themselves," Horhn said. "But I don’t know, I don’t know what’s at the bottom of it. I just know that it’s got to change. Crime is off the chain in Jackson. And we need to get as much help as we can to get it back under control.”
3 On Your Side reached out to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s office and the Jackson Police Department to ask about those communication issues with state agencies.
Jackson Communications Director Makani Themba said the mayor was unavailable.
Neither JPD spokesperson Sam Brown nor Chief James Davis responded to requests for an interview.