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Excerpts from Mayor Johnson’s...

Excerpts from Mayor Johnson’s remarks

By: Magnolia Tribune - September 2, 2004

Credit for making this available goes to the Jackson Free Press.

We cannot be a great city unless our people feel safe, safe in their homes, safe at work, or just taking a walk or going to the store. Tackling the crime problem has been a top priority of this administration. Last year, Chief Moore and I introduced our five point plan to reduce crime in Jackson. Our plan is working. Crime is at a 16-year low.

One of the major crime fighting elements is “community policing.” In keeping with our plan we have established important partnerships with community, neighborhood and business associations.

I am proud of the “community oriented policing strategies initiative,” which was initiated this year and has allowed us to hold monthly precinct meetings involving the police, code enforcement, the mayor’s office and public works to meet with the citizens to identify problems causing crimes. We have witnessed residents joining forces with the men and women of the jackson police department to identify criminals. I wish to recognize some of our group leaders from the community who participated in the process: Earnestine Rice, Belmont Trapp, and Sheila Woodard. Please stand and be recognized. We appreciate you so much. Thank you.

We are turning the corner on crime and we will not let up. We are putting a dent in the crime problem. One way is that we have graduated 15 classes from the police academy in the last 7-1/2 years. We have more police officers today than we have ever had. This continued growth in the number of uniformed officers was done in the face of constant attrition due in part to retirements, and officers serving our country in military duty.

We have a new police class beginning in a couple of weeks. I cannot wait to be at the next graduation ? to congratulate these young, enthusiastic men and women who want to serve in the front lines of protecting our community and taking back our neighborhoods. Let us salute our patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, chief robert moore and his command staff for the job that they’re doing.

We all know that we can’t do our job alone. And we have formed some very important relationships with local, state and federal agences. Fortunately, we have a tough prosecutor in our hinds county district attorney, Faye Peterson, and I want to recognize her and her assistants for creating an improved relationship with the police department since her reelection last year.

I also want to thank the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics for teaming up with us to go after the big drug dealers. I want to give special thanks and recognition to the new bureau director, George Phillips, who has ably and professionally served this state as a prosecutor and in law enforcement. Mr. Phillips could not be with us this evening, but at this time i’d like to recognize enforcement commander bobbye grimes and major nelson tate. Will you please stand? Thank you for the important work you do!

We’ve also formed important partnerships with the DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshal Service and the ATF on the federal level. If any representatives from these agencies are present, would you please stand?
I want to thank the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, particularly Sheriff Malcolm McMillin, who is represented this evening by Chief Deputy Ed Swinney, for doing a good job under tough circumstances. We are working with his office to implement a computer system that will allow jpd and the sheriff’s office to view the criminal records of their respective offices and 700 other law enforcement jurisdictions. This model, we believe, will blossom so that each law enforcement jurisdiction of the state will effectively work together.

Last, but not least, i want to thank U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton and the U.S. Attorney’s office for their numerous programs to prosecute crimes and in particular through Operation Cease Fire which removes felons with handguns from the streets. The Weed and Seed program, also funded through this agency, is not only enabling us to increase law enforcement, but also employment and youth activities in target areas.

You know, law enforcement in Jackson is hard work. It is work in the trenches. It is sometimes quiet work behind the scenes. Although we have reduced criminal activity in the city of jackson overall, when any part of our city is touched by crime, we are all touched by it. We are seeing our most vulnerable, our seniors and our children, being hurt by senseless acts. These are the same senseless acts that moved me to double my resolve in shoring up resources to combat crime here in our capital city.

In the months ahead we will continue to work to eradicate the root causes of crime in our city. We as public officials, police officers and community and religious leaders will meet regularly in neighborhoods across the city to discuss crime problems and, most importantly, ways to get our young people involved in positive activities.

We have been particularly pleased with the improvements to the city’s drug hotline. Residents have responded with anonymous calls reporting drug activity with the confidence that a police officer will be dispatched immediately.

You know, it takes all of us to fight crime. I ask everybody to get involved, including our critics who are sometimes quick to cut us down, but offer no solutions, and seldom offer an extended hand. We all need to reach out to a young person who could benefit from an afternoon reading program, a summer camp or a summer or after school job, or even just a kind word. We are all in this together. So i have a message to some of the talk radio crowd, and to the naysayers who only know Jackson from the pearl street exit: My message is simply this: redirect your energy. Be a mentor. Be a big brother or big sister. Make every single person count. We can all make a difference.

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September 2, 2004

Election Man Cartoon