Residents express concerns about police response in Belhaven

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Residents in parts of the Capital City say they don’t know whom to call during an emergency, especially when 911 and the police department don’t send help.

Donna Bland is the manager of Keifer’s. She says she’s seen the problems first hand.

“I came down on a Sunday morning. I look to the front, [and] the glass door is busted,” said Bland. “So I called JPD, and they say, ‘Okay, we’ll have somebody there in just a few minutes.’ I wait 15-20 minutes, and I call back, and I said, ‘Nobody’s shown up,’ and she said, ‘Capital Police [is] supposed to do that.’”

“JPD is always willing and fields calls and delivers support to that area,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

One Belhaven resident says he tried to resolve the issue by calling Capital Police to find out who would respond if he needed help, but he says no clear answer was given.

“I spoke to someone who sounded like it was on a radio, and that person danced around whether or not JPD would respond if you call 911 or would 911 call Capital Police,” said Francis Rullan, a Belhaven resident.

According to Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay, she’s had meetings with JPD about the safety of residents in Ward 7, and promises were made that are not being fulfilled.

“Chief Davis assured all the neighborhood leaders, and that was Midtown, Downtown, Fondren, and Greater Belhaven, that they would respond to phone calls, that they could not turn away emergency calls, and that there would be no change,” said Councilwoman Lindsay.

Residents say a procedure needs to be put in place quickly as to who will respond where before an innocent person is hurt.

“It is a health and safety issue for the citizens of the Capital City of the state of Mississippi. It could be catastrophic if a person had an immediate need for police intervention and had to go through the inconsistent messaging that we are now getting,” Rullan said.

Councilwoman Lindsay added that the city of Jackson’s legal team and the Department of Public Safety will be laying out those procedures soon so every law enforcement agency will know how to respond properly.

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