PASCAGOULA, Miss.–Sheriff Mike Byrd is still the sheriff and until he is convicted of a felony can remain so, according to state law. Apparently Jackson County’s top cop is determined to stay as long as the law permits.
Byrd was indicted and arrested last week on 31 felony and misdemeanor charges, including extortion and embezzlement. He was printed and his mugshot taken and published, just like any other prisoner.
The Sun Herald newspaper, which covers the coast, published a memo this week that Byrd sent to his employees. In that memo, Byrd told his officers that they should continue to do their jobs as normal and that he would be available by radio or telephone.
“I will continue to see you on the streets and at the office. Keep your heads up and be proud of what you do,” read the memo.
There is also not a consensus among Jackson County supervisors about whether or not to ask for Byrd’s resignation, which may essentially amount to a vote of no confidence by the supes, since Byrd does not have to follow their recommendation.
Among other things, Byrd is accused of trying to extort sexual favors from a female deputy and using his employees to work at private functions and paying them with county money. He is also accused of stalking people he did not like or people who crossed him.
Byrd’s department is also the subject of a lawsuit by former Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan, who was arrested on child pornography charges, which were later dismissed due to lack of evidence. There were 17 other similar cases.