Habitat for Humanity calls for increased JPD presence after confrontation

Habitat for Humanity calls for increased JPD presence after confrontation
Published: Apr. 25, 2018 at 2:18 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2018 at 11:14 AM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Habitat for Humanity is looking for more support from the Jackson Police Department and city leaders after they say a confrontation with a resident left volunteers feeling uneasy.

In a community forum, the Mississippi Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Merril McKewen says a volunteer was finishing up at a job site in the Virden Addition neighborhood, when she was approached by a man who blocked her from getting into her car.

McKewen says the volunteer was not alone and no one was hurt.

A Habitat contractor said he was able to step in, causing a distraction while taking some threats.

"Once he turned around to face me, she got a chance to close her door and pull off and that's when he turned on me," the contractor, Vernell Bender said.

A police report was filed and the man was arrested, but since then, some have felt uneasy while building and working to improve communities in Jackson.

"We believe that good people doing good works have a certain, you know, God given protection," McKewen said. "But we, also, want to back it up with some JPD."

City leaders assured that increased patrols around Habitat job sites are happening and that they're looking into software called ShotSpotter which could help JPD detect things like the location of gunshots sooner.

"We really want to look at bringing it back," Jackson City Constituents Manager, Kiesha Sanders said. "We do see it as a need for our city to help us combat some of the random shots fired throughout the neighborhoods."

Police say anytime you feel unsafe or if you believe suspicious activity might be going on around you, give them a call. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Their non-emergency line is (601) 960-1234.

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