Supervisors hear complaint against SO deputies


Despite the flurry of snowflakes, the Simpson County Board of Supervisors met last Tuesday with business as usual. 

As the meeting opened a Mr. Brooks made an appearance before the board to complain about the treatment he received as a result of a traffic stop on Highway 49, near Legion Lake, calling it “harrassment.”  He reported that a total of four different deputies eventually arrived on the scene and stopped him because his windows were rolled down.  He said the deputies asked him “How much weed you been smoking?”  He responded he had not been smoking weed and that he did not do that. 

The deputies asked for permission to search his vehicle, which he granted.  The deputies came up with an empty Xanex bottle which had his name on it.  Upon further investigation Brooks was released. 

He said the officers insisted that he was using marijuana but that they found nothing to indicate he had been using drugs or was under the influence.  He said he placed calls to the sheriff about the situation but that the sheriff did not return his calls after he said he would. 

The board asked Chief Deputy Greg Reynolds to look into the matter and get back with Mr. Brooks. 

Brooks told the board he had gone to jail and served his time in 2002. 

The board authorized Glen Jennings to issue an emergency declaration in the event it was needed to deal with the impending snowstorm that was forecast to strike the county later that night. 

County resident Fred Alexander talked with the board about the perception that people will be targeted as a “snitch” if they provide information on recent break ins that are occurring around the Pinola area.  He cautioned that if information is provided, the source should remain confidential.   

Road Manager Ben Warren reported to the board that the road crew was making preparations for the impending weather.  He updated the board about bridge projects, stating that most of the initial problems were corrected.  No decision was made as to whether to keep the man who was making repairs to existing bridges to repair five to six additional bridges that will probably need work.  The board also discussed vehicles running the barricade on Macedonia and driving over the dirt berm. 

Supervisors approved a $1,597.50 travel bill on the county VISA. 

The board approved proceeding with the closure of Tommy Brown Road because the landowner made the request. 

The board reconsidered a variable rate bid submitted by Peoples Bank and PriorityOne bank as depositories for the county.  Originally the board had discussed going with a fixed rate of 1.5 percent but decided the rates would move more over the next two years.   They also approved Bancorp South and Trustmark as qualified depositories. 

The board approved the hiring of Timothy Pope as a full-time backup driver  for solid waste. 

The board approved another bid on damage to a windshield for Jimmy Dale Smith.  The board denied damage in which Virginia Barnes claimed a garbage truck broke her water line.  They then discussed how far they were willing to work with people who were filing claims against the county and how long a person could wait to present such a claim.  Board attorney Danny Welch told the board they should not rush to deny legitimate claims and that the statute allows up to three years for a claim to be filed.

The board approved the purchase of uniforms for interim constable Dusty Drennan for $467, and the purchase of lights and vehicle markings for $600. 

The board approved the appointment of Wendall James as special prosecutor to replace Wesley Broadhead in the following cases:

-Jacob Niblet vs. Vivian Niblet

-Jacob Niblet vs. Rodney Anderson

-Jacob Niblet vs. Wanda Smith

-State of Miss. vs. Lisa Tanner

-State of Miss. vs. Gene Hubbard, Jr. 

The board discussed a request for a proposal for new ambulance service for Simpson County and the disparity that exists between what Simpson County is paying versus what Smith County is paying for ambulance service.  The county is requesting proposals for ambulance service.  It was noted that complaints about service had dropped significantly since the contract with AMR was no longer in place with Rankin County. 

The board approved the hiring of Eric Jerscheid for part time deputy. It was reported that he is a lawyer.  Donna Smith was hired part time for administration.  The board approved sending Crystal Scarborough and Shane Steele to a dispatchers course in Collins for $395 each.  They approved Laquieta Walker and Shea Seghini to attend a corrections management course at a cost of $200 and lodging. 

Board member Curtis Skiffer questioned why the City of Magee had taken the position they have in regard to reducing funding for the Simpson County Development Foundation.  Pat Brown, publisher of the paper and president of the Foundation, said he had talked with members of the city board and they attributed the decision to lack of communication. 

Brown told Skiffer there had been much more communication than there ever had in the past.  Brown said with new board members and a new mayor, “it could have come down to politics.” Skiffer expressed his concern about the decision with all of the effort the Foundation has provided specifically in the Magee area. 

Brown told the board this would be a topic of conversation at the Foundation meeting on Thursday. 

The board approved sending Chris Wallace to a Public Information class in Greenwood, Arkansas at a cost of $595 plus lodging.