Meridian Star

December 4, 2012

State sheriffs meeting in Meridian this week

By Ida Brown /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     There's a new sheriff in town – actually, about 60 of them.

    Sheriffs from across the state will convene in Meridian this week for the 2012 Winter Conference of the Mississippi Sheriff's Association (MSA).

    Holiday Inn on North Frontage Road will serve as headquarters for the three-day conference, which begins today and will include speakers, presentations and discussions, tours and vendors. Established in 1981, MSA is a conglomerate of sheriffs representing 82 counties statewide.

    "We're excited to have close to 100 guests, including sheriffs and their spouses, as well as venders," said Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie. "And we appreciate their economic impact on Meridian."

    MSA hosts two conferences annually. Nomination and election of officers for the upcoming year highlight the summer conference. The winter conference is highlighted by the planning of the legislative agenda for the state's sheriffs. In addition, more than 25 law enforcement equipment and service provider vendors will be set up at the conference site.

    After a welcome by Mayor Cheri Barry and Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors President Joe Norwood today, the conference will get under way with a presentation by Commissioner Chris Epps of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

    Other speakers for the morning include Jeff Killion, president of Mississippi COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors Inc.) and Attorney Will Allen.

    After lunch, Harold Gray of the District Attorney's Office-Rankin/Madison County, will make the presentation "Basic Gang Awareness," which will be followed by "Progress on Developing a Crisis Intervention Team" by Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. A business meeting for sheriffs will conclude the day's conference activities.

    The sheriffs and their spouses will finish the evening with a fish fry at the East Mississippi Electric Power Association auditorium.

    On Wednesday, the sheriffs will tour the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy (RCTA) at Naval Air Station Meridian, as well as attend training sessions on several subjects, including: Methamphetamine Update; Commanding Stand Offs; and Post Shooting Update.

    The sheriffs will return to Holiday Inn for presentations by Special Agent In Charge Daniel McMullen of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's, Jackson Division, who will discuss "Information Sharing." This session is for law enforcement only. Also scheduled to speak that day will be Special Agent Jeffery Artis/FBI, who will discuss "Crisis Negotiation."

    A banquet will be held that evening at the conference headquarters. The guest speaker will be Mississippi Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn.

    Thursday morning, a roundtable discussion for sheriffs will be held, followed by a business meeting. The conference will conclude later that day.

    The Mississippi Sheriffs Association's mission is to represent and support its members through professional development, meetings to encourage cooperation and open communication and provide support of legislation that assists law enforcement. The organization also supports the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls Ranch.