Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Wednesday that new laws will lead to a larger law enforcement presence in the capital city of Jackson, and he said he hopes that will alleviate some crime problems.
The Capitol Police Department became part of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety as of July 1.
The police department patrols areas in and around state government buildings. It was previously part of the state Department of Finance and Administration.
In March, Reeves signed House Bill 974, authorizing the change to the Department of Public Safety.
Reeves also signed Senate Bill 2788, which allows the Highway Patrol to use radar in cities with a population of at least 15,000.
Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell from Gulfport said during a news conference with Reeves that Capitol police will have greater visibility in downtown, extending from Jackson State University to Interstate 55, and up into the Fondren area just north of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, according to Jackson news outlets.
“The goal here is to create a safer capital city,” Tindell said.
“The citizens of Mississippi should be able to visit their state capital, state hospital, state museums without the fear of being raped, robbed or murdered.”
Reeves referred to a “never-ending cycle of crime” in Jackson, causing residents to fear for their lives.
Then, Reeves asked Jackson residents to stay alert and notify police of crime.
“This initiative will help,” Reeves said. “It will make a difference, but this is just the first step in reducing crime in Mississippi.”
Local media outlets reported that representatives from Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office were not invited to the governor’s news conference