‘I did hear the gunshots’ | Governor says law enforcement presence inadequate in Downtown Jackson

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves says he was close enough to hear gunshots during a drive-by shooting on Capitol Street on Monday evening.

Jackson Police Department is still investigating the shooting, which happened near 10 p.m. No arrests have been made.

He says it is fortunate that he and his family were not outside, but said there have been times in the past where they have heard them when outside.

“This crime that is occurring in the city of Jackson is a major issue for all of us, those of us who either choose or are living downtown. But the reality is when you look around America, and you particularly look at the need for larger metropolitan areas to be successful. Mississippi needs Jackson to be successful,” Reeves said.

He says the downtown area is lacking in an investment into added law enforcement.

The statement came nearly three months after Reeves announced a sweeping public safety initiative made possible by lawmakers, the lieutenant governor and Jackson’s police chief, which would mean increased patrols throughout the city’s Capitol Complex Improvement District, which includes downtown Jackson.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell admitted that coverage didn’t make a difference Monday night.

“No, we’ve got to do a better job. And part of that is getting the buy in from the legislature to increase the number of Capitol Police that we have so that we can do that job. And I’m confident with their support that we will get there,” Tindell said.

Reeves said for the state to be successful, Jackson must succeed, and shootings like the one Monday night on Capitol Street serve as a reminder of the challenges the city faces.

“Obviously, there are a lot of good men and women that work at JPD,” Reeves said. “There’s just not enough of them. And I’m afraid if we are successful in convincing the legislature to double the size of the force at CCID --we get to 150 officers. The latest number I heard out of JPD was they had less than 200 officers for the entire force. And obviously, that’s not not an adequate number.”

The governor also praised economic development on Capitol Street with new businesses slated to open within the next six months, indicating that the downtown area is typically safe and, as a result, bustling with opportunity.

He also called on more community engagement to relax crime in Jackson.

“It’s going to take everyone focusing on not only having a greater law enforcement presence, but we need members of the community to be engaged and involved. And look, we’ve seen marches in downtown protests of people from all walks of life marching together saying this, this violence that is occurring, it is not reasonable. It’s not rational. And so we’re going to continue to work through that.”

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