ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

What is your opinion of illegal immigration? What are the solutions to the problems it has created? Should there be an amnesty program? Should they all be sent back to the country of their origin? Are they taking jobs that our welfare recipients ought to be filling?

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Another “F” for Chief Moffett

Friday’s Vicksburg Post featured a story wherein it was stated that the VPD needs two weeks to furnish individuals with reports of vehicle accidents. These are required before insurance companies can process claims. Chief Moffett blames new technology, the ReportBeam automated system required by the state. Moffett has refused to use the system for the past two years. Only when state grants were threatened did he have his officers begin reporting through the computerized system. Now, according to him, reports are not available for “several days.” Sheriff Martin Pace, however, has been using the system since its inception, and claims it is very efficient; claims reports are available the day after an accident. What about it, Chief? Why can’t your folks be as efficient as Sheriff Pace’s?

Published in: on February 2, 2008 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Revised petition – combine VPD and sheriff’s dept.

Based on input from you, following is a revised petition that asks our leaders to combine the two local law enforcement agencies. Please submit any further recommendations for revision.

Again, the decision as to whether or not to go forward with the petition will be based on your interest, your input, and your recommendations, and will require your efforts for implementation.

 

We, the undersigned residents of Warren County, Mississippi, request that our city and county leaders cooperate in discussions that will lead to consolidation of the Vicksburg Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. We feel that the city and county’s ability to enforce the laws may be improved, and that overall cost of operations may be reduced. We further recommend that the Warren County sheriff, being the elected official, be placed in charge of the combined force.

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Vicksburg crime: Is it worsening?

Thursday’s Vicksburg Post carried a front page story regarding a Vicksburg woman who has reported the theft and vandalism of her rental property four or more times in the past year. The police have been unable to prevent it, or to capture those responsible. This may be a front-page story today, but it is nothing new. There are literally hundreds of instances of thefts, purse-snatchings, car-jackings, drug raids, bad-checks, embezzlements, rapes, murders, etc., that are reported within the Post’s pages every year. Many other incidents never make the Post. Probably not since Vicksburg was overrun by thieves and murderers in 1863 have the citizens of this city been more afraid to leave their homes.

 

Why can’t we, the citizens of Vicksburg, pick up our daily Post and read of new parks and playgrounds, civility and philanthropy, love and kindness, rather than of the latest outrages against the populace?

 

Lack of law enforcement, poverty, broken homes, gangs, and more can be blamed for the depressing headlines and crime reports. More importantly, we should ask ourselves this: What can we, as individual citizens, do to make Vicksburg a safer place to live?

Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 6:27 pm  Comments (12)  

Is it time for Chief Moffett to go?

The VPD’s announcement that five of its officers resigned in December may be another indication of the disarray and discontent that seems to have plagued the department for the past several years. Already undermanned, the department may now be seriously compromised in its ability to protect the citizens of Vicksburg. Other factors may be cited for the force’s inability to retain or hire officers (61 of 87 positions filled), but the buck stops squarely at the desk of Chief of Police Tommy Moffett, who has been severely criticized (and defended) in this forum. Perhaps the time has come for the chief to resign to allow a more competent officer to take command. The Asst. Chief, O’Bannon, might be considered, but O’Bannon’s record of sexual harassments and other factors would probably disqualify him from consideration.

 

Perhaps now is the opportune time to combine the VPD and the sheriff’s department into a “metropolitan police force” under command of Sheriff Martin Pace.

 

What do you think?

Comments needed – combine sheriff’s dept. & VPD?

Would the citizens of Vicksburg respond to a petition whose aim is to combine the two law enforcement entities? Several readers have suggested that in order to answer that question, a trial run be instituted. To that end, a preliminary petition follows. Please let us have your comments and recommendations not only as to format, but as to whether or not the petition is a worthwhile effort. Only if your response is both significant and positive will a serious effort be attempted city-wide.

 

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We, the undersigned residents of Vicksburg, Mississippi, are dissatisfied with the caliber of law enforcement provided to the citizens of the City of Vicksburg. We feel that enforcement of our laws will be enhanced if the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the Vicksburg Police Department are combined, and Sheriff Martin Pace is placed in charge of the combined force. We request that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, proceed to develop and implement a plan to achieve that end.

 

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Should we all be carrying guns?

Mississippi law allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons once they obtain a license that includes background checks to assure licenses are not issued to felons or other disreputable persons. Gun advocates claim (and statistics seem to bear out) that such a law reduces crime. There are no reliable statistics on the number of crimes prevented due to weapons possession, but the number is probably substantial. That said, given that education in firearm use and safety is essential, shouldn’t we all be carrying guns?

 

VS takes no position on the matter. However, if you are interested in obtaining a firearms license, the Mississippi Highway Patrol is in charge of issuing same. Their office, located near the intersection of Woodrow Wilson and I-55 North in Jackson, processes applicants for the Vicksburg area. There is a $100.00 initial fee plus a charge for fingerprinting services. For more information, see their website at

 

http://www.dps.state.ms.us/dps/dps.nsf/divpages/hp2firearm

 

How do you feel? Should we all be carrying guns?

 

Vicksburg: Crime up, response and reporting down?

We have received complaints by some of our readers and others that they are victims of crimes that aren’t reported in the Post and to which the VPD has offered little or no response:

 Boredstiff, dated 12/6/07: The Vicksburg Post is biased. Not just how they represent the Mayor, Alderman or Police & Fire Department. But because of how they present the news!! Here is why I say that. How many people know about the purse snatching from the Kroger parking lot a few days before Thanksgiving? How many people know about the purse snatching from the Wal-Mart Parking lot this past Thursday? How many people know that a woman was verbally assaulted at Wal-Mart late at night a few months ago by 5 black men, where 2 of them followed her throughout the store? How many people are aware of the shooting that happened this past Saturday night in Lake Park? Not too many!!! This Sunday there was an article about the shooting but it was on the VERY BACK PAGE OF THE SUNDAY NEWSPAPER!!!!!!! Why? Doesn’t everyone need to be aware of what is going on in our town? Isn’t that the responsibility of the media to inform the citizens? Those who are not aware how bad our town is getting because of the blatant irresponsibility of our paper might not be aware of what is going on might not be extra cautious and could very well fall victim to these criminals.

Single mother of 4 dated today, 12/07/07: I have lived in downtown Vicksburg for 5 years.  I have had tens-of-thousands of dollars of property stolen from my family and me.  My property has been vandalized many times.  Less than a block from my home, there is consistent drug activity and prostitution.  The activity from the clubs spreads to the entire neighborhood.  I have asked for extra patrols for my area.  This is an extreme joke!!!  My children never play outside; it is too dangerous. I have reported to the police department, the mayor’s office, and to my alderman about the crime problems that I am having.  The mayor, that I supported in the last election, will not return my phone calls.  The alderman told me that he notified the chief-of-police about the problem. The chief-of-police does nothing.  As a matter of fact, in one conversation that he and I had on the telephone, he stated to me, “ya know lady, you have a lot to say , but you don’t know when to shut-up.” The insurance cost on my property has tripled in 5 years.  My property taxes continue to increase even though my property value and police services decrease in value. The city spends OUR money on “beautification projects” etc; however, until it cleans the criminal trash from the street, Vicksburg will continue to be a trashy, thug infested city. 

Name withheld: Something happened a few months ago to me in Wal-Mart.  I don’t like to talk about this but will share with you all.  Advise:  Ladies PLEASE be careful when going anywhere shopping, especially this time of the year.  Keep your purse close to you at all times (I buckle mine in the buggy as you would a child when shopping).  Keep your money and cell phones separate from your purse and in your pocket.  You would be able to call for help in an emergency situation.  Let someone know where you are going, especially at night and about what time to expect you back, just as a precaution.  Take someone with you when you shop after dark and park in a well-lit area, close to the front of the store.  Observe your surrounding and be very cautious.  It’s sad that our society has gotten like this.  I would like to know where the security is at Wal-Mart, why they don’t have security outside in the parking lot and why nothing shows up on surveillance cameras that you see everywhere? About 3 months ago I went to Wal-Mart about 10:00 p.m. . Normally I wouldn’t have dared do this but I was baking cakes and ran out of powdered sugar. Had to have it for the icing. I found a parking space right in front of the store on the left side. The store was quiet and pretty bare…not many people around and there only a few cars in the parking lot. I entered the store, strapped my purse in the buggy.  As I did this I noticed a group of black men to the right side of the store by the eye-glass business. Two of the black men in the group walked a little ahead of me and followed me up and down isles which made me nervous. I kept track of where they were, but tried not to be obvious about it. When I glanced their way they turned their backs to me. One was very tall, probably 6′ 4″. The other had a shorter, stocky over-weight build. I got my cake supplies and quickly went to the 20 items or less lane and checked out. As I checked out they walked across to the Customer Service area and met up with 3 other black men. The youngest of the group of 5 was real preppy dressed. They were talking to each other and looking at me.  So, I put my things in the buggy, and walked across the front of the store to the exit. The “greeter” had apparently gone home or on break. There was no security personnel around. As I walked, 3 of the men started walking behind me. I walked quickly to the exit. I went through the foyer of Wal-Mart to the yellow poles outside. As I got to the concrete sidewalk, 4 of the men rushed out of the store and up to my buggy, surrounding me and the buggy holding on to the buggy, shaking it, screaming, picking up my packages and throwing them back in the buggy, screamed obscenities at me, screaming and yelling at the top of their voices. This went on for at least a minute and a half…seemed like forever. My purse was wrapped over my neck and hanging on my side. I grabbed it and held on. Cell phone and money in my pocket. They continued to scream pulling and tugging on my buggy, rocking it back and forth, with the wheels coming off the ground. Never have I heard such filthy obscenities! I tried to crouch down thinking I was going to be stabbed or something and tried to move away from the buggy but they put their bodies next to me and blocked me, surrounding me. I was scared out of my wits. Then all of a sudden they started laughing hysterically and ran across the parking lot. I was visibly shaken and in shock about what had just happened. My head roared! I felt nauseous and light-headed.  When I finally gathered my wits about me I proceeded with shaky legs across the parking lot to my car, thankful that the car was only a few feet away.  I was shaking so hard I could barely get the key in the trunk. My heart raced and felt like it was going to explode in my chest. Terrified, I looked around before I unlocked the trunk and just as I unlocked it, the short stocky black man ran up to me….I threw the bags and my purse in the trunk and slammed it shut. I had the buggy between us and knew I could use it to block him if I had to. I didn’t know what was going to happen. He laughed and said “Is the white “B” scared? You was a scared white “B”! I didn’t answer and backed up to my car door with the buggy still between us, but did not unlock it. He said “You almost peed your pants. You was scared! I could tell!” Then he laughed. I screamed at him and told him the cops were on their way and to leave me alone. He started walking off and got half-way across the drive to the front of Wal-Mart. I quickly unlocked the door and jumped in the car and relocked it. As I cranked the car, shaking like a leaf, the black man appeared and started pounding on my drivers window. Startled and scared half out of my wits, I quickly put the car in reverse backed out.  As I sped off he ran after the car pounding on the windows and trunk screaming “You white “B”, can’t you help a brother out with some food. I’s hungry and ain’t had a bite to eat today….I put the car in drive and he screamed obscenities at me and said “You could buy a brother a hamburger! Next time you might not get off so lucky!”  I reported this incident but was told Wal-Mart did not have anything that I described on video surveillance. Therefore nothing was done about it! I was stunned! I know they scan the parking lot because I’ve seen the monitors in the store. I know they had to have recorded that! I do not go to Wal-Mart after dark anymore. I remember that incident to vividly and was truly afraid for my life. I thought I was going to be stabbed, robbed, or worse. GOD was with me during this incident and protected me.  PRAISE GOD! I was told that thugs target women with ponytails, or longer hair that they can grab and hold on to…loose clothes so they can grab the clothing quickly and you can’t get away.  They like to go after women alone and women who talk on their cell phones as they enter or exit a store. Please use extra caution during the holiday season.

Name withheld – dated 11/15/07: Be careful at the Wal-Mart in Vicksburg. A woman got mugged last night.The guy hit her in the back of her head with a gun. She had to go get stiches. It was a white man that was just standing out front of thedoor. He spoke to her when she went in, and knocked her out when shecame out. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt too bad, and he only got away withher purse. She had her car keys and cell phone in her pocket. 

Your comments are welcomed.

Has a “suspended sentence” taken another life?

The front page of Wednesday’s Vicksburg Post has details of another Vicksburg murder. Solomon “Dewey” Smith is suspected of shooting to death Harold R. Scott in Scott’s own home. Scott was described as a “generous, helpful handyman.” Smith, however, has “…a total of six felony convictions dating to 1985…”

 

Is this another case where a felon who should have been in prison was instead released via a “suspended sentence?” We do not know. Based on past history, however, it is a distinct possibility. If this is actually the case, every citizen of Vicksburg should be infuriated, and the DA, his deputies, and the judge who suspended the prison sentence should answer for the death.

Published in: on November 21, 2007 at 8:02 pm  Comments (8)  

Purse snatching at Krogers

One of our readers reported a brazen purse snatching in the Krogers’ parking lot Saturday night. At around 7:00 PM a lady was snatched out of her car; her purse was forcefully taken. The snatcher then jumped into his car and drove away.

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 11:45 am  Comments (6)  

Once again… combine the VPD & Sheriff’s Dept.?

The decision by Mayor Frank Melton to appoint Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillan to the top job at the JPD brings exciting new possibilities to Vicksburg and Warren County. It turns out that this arrangement has been tried in cities across the country (Las Vegas, Jacksonville, FL, Louisville, KY, etc.). Why not Vicksburg, then, where our city police force is far below its authorized strength, the Chief of Police refuses to enforce certain of our laws, and our crime rate is second only to Jackson… Vicksburg and Warren County, where the sheriff’s department effectively handles its duties with professionalism and courtesy?

Sheriff Pace was quoted in the Saturday Post as giving a resounding “No!” to the possibility that he take over both jobs. But Sheriff Pace is an honorable, civic-minded, dependable officer who would probably accept the challenge if the public were behind him.

How do you react to the possibility? Are you for or against the combination? State whether you are a city or county resident.

Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 10:44 am  Comments (14)  

A new District Attorney… why was Smith elected?

Ricky Smith’s stunningly lopsided (2 to 1) victory over Gil Martin in the race for District Attorney surprised everyone. What, in your opinion, caused the voters to elect Mr. Smith by such a wide margin?

 

Your comments are invited.

Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 6:00 pm  Comments (16)  

No Work Permit at the Valley?

Unsubstantiated rumor has it that the old Valley building, owned by members of the Leyens family for years, has been sold. Whether the rumor is true or not, repair of the rear exterior of the building seems to be in progress. City ordinances require that a Work Permit be obtained and be prominently displayed during renovation or construction of this type. None is evident at the Valley. So, are the new owners unaware of the code requirement, or is the mayor up to more of his shenanigans?

Published in: on October 15, 2007 at 8:03 pm  Comments (26)  

Combine the Sheriff’s Dept and the VPD?

If you count the number of stories that make the Vicksburg Post, the Warren County Sheriff’s Department seldom experiences the personnel and criminal investigation problems that seem to plague the VPD. The latter includes suspensions for sexual harassment, suspensions for erroneous firing of weapons, accusations of rape, sex with teenage girls, failure to adequately prepare the investigative material necessary for use by the DA’s office for prosecutions, use of police vehicles for personal use, frequent contentious arguments regarding personnel before the Civil Service Commission, failure to enforce the laws, and charges of favoritism within the ranks of the police officers. In addition the VPD remains understaffed, resulting in undermanned patrols, increased overtime pay, and even “prioritizing” of emergency calls by the 911 staff. The Sheriff’s Department seems to have a good working relationship with the DA’s office, whereas the Chief of Police and the District Attorney are constantly at each other’s throats. There can be little doubt that the ability of the VPD to protect the public is adversely affected by these internal and external distractions.

So why not just combine the two, with the eventual goal of eliminating the VPD? Is it possible?

What’s your opinion?

Mayor Leyens…above the law?

A front-page article in the Post Wednesday revealed that our mayor has made exterior modifications to a building he owns without going through the approval process that is required of every other citizen. An awning was added to the building at 1619 Walnut Street several weeks ago after Leyens paid an $11 fee and obtained “approval” from Paula Wright of the Planning Department. Wright has since denied she gave Leyens approval, stating that only the Board of Architectural Review has that authority.

 

Leyens visited with the members of the Board of Architectural Review Tuesday, insisting that the meeting not be called to order nor the channel 23 cameras be turned on, because, in his words, “I’m kind of tired of the public knowing all my personal business.” He afterwards stated, “I went to go see them today because I think the process is important. That board has no authority. I could dismiss that board tomorrow and it’s gone.” Members of the board afterward indicated that they have not voted on or given approval for any modifications to the mayor’s building.

 

Leyens has bought, renovated, and sold several buildings in the downtown historic district since he has been in office. And this is not the first time he has disregarded city codes and ordinances. During the renovation of 1208 Washington Street (the Audubon Society now leases the building’s first floor), Leyens installed aluminum frame windows throughout the building despite the requirement that the materials be wood or vinyl. The discrepancy was brought to the BAR’s attention, but no action was taken. There are rumors of similar and other misconduct as well which will not be repeated unless substantiated.

 

As you may recall, Leyens stated during the controversy over fireman Montgomery’s letter-to-the-editor that he wanted to modify the law regarding such “political activity” because it did not support his interpretation of it. In the present disagreement he has not only ignored the law, but has threatened to abolish the Board of Architectural review, the enforcing body for these city ordinances. This type of arrogance and abuse of power are what we might expect from the leaders of Cuba or Venezuela… but here, in Vicksburg, Mississippi?

 

Your comments are invited.

Published in: on September 13, 2007 at 3:06 pm  Comments (19)