ABERDEEN – Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell reflects on last year’s accomplishments with pride, but sees them as momentum for a brand new year and set of accomplishments.
“All the success we had with programs makes us want to be fired up for the community and it keeps us going. Crime has decreased by more than half and breaking and entering cases have really dropped off,” Cantrell said.
In 2013, the sheriff’s department had a 90 percent conviction rate for the approximately 190 grand jury cases ranging from grand larceny to sexual offenses. The department’s narcotics unit also had a 90 percent conviction rate on its approximately 100 cases tried in grand jury.
Through last year, the MCSO recovered $130,000 worth of stolen property and shut down numerous meth labs in the county.
Going into a new year, the department has already begun a neighborhood watch program and will officially begin its Triad program to better serve the elderly. The Mississippi Leadership Council on Aging has awarded the county a $4,500 grant for weather alert radios for qualified elderly residents. An announcement is expected in the spring as to when people can apply.
Last week, the department officially opened its substation in Hamilton.
“A deputy will be in Hamilton at all times and when they’re not patrolling, they’ll be at the substation. It will help people by having someone here to file reports,” said MCSO public relations officer Tanya Willems.
The department will continue community-minded programs like elderly check-in, the Christmas bicycle drive, summer youth mentoring program and church and school visits to discuss youth drug awareness.
The MCSO plans to throw a policeman’s ball this year as a fundraiser to initiate a new scholarship. This summer, the department plans to begin a youth outreach program for at risk youth in the county.
Cantrell is confident the county will continue its run as the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s cleanest county through its inmate litter program. In 2013, inmates picked up 36,000 pounds of litter from Monroe County roadsides.
The Monroe County Law Enforcement Officers’ inaugural meeting will be held next week to exchange ideas on how to better serve the community. The group, which is open to law enforcement and members of the judicial system, will meet once a month.