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State, local leaders announce new public safety initiative for capital city

Operation Unified
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

A unified approach between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies has been unveiled to tackle the crime epidemic in Mississippi’s capital city.

On Tuesday, Governor Tate Reeves announced “Operation Unified” as an all-hands-on-deck approach from police agencies to exhaust the state’s resources to rid Jackson’s streets of drug traffickers and violent criminals.

“To those who are using our capital city as their criminal playground — your time here is over,” Reeves said. “You don’t run this city, and you are not immune to the law. We will not surrender our streets to you, and we will never – and I mean never – rest until you are behind bars.”

The Republican governor shared the podium with Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade, and Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens in making the announcement.

The location at which the press briefing was held resides less than one block away from where a viral video that recently surfaced showed an individual shooting what appeared to be an assault rifle from a vehicle while traveling near the QuikTrip gas station near I-55 North Frontage Road. Authorities confirm that the shooting took place on October 28 around 5:30 p.m. and that a suspect connected to the incident has since been taken into custody.

While residents have likely seen an increased presence of police officers patrolling the streets in Jackson – given the initiative actually launched in mid-January – Lumumba hopes that the common goal among agencies is to promote a spirit of safety for Jacksonians, not a sense of over-policing.

“I hope that as we move forward that we can pledge to the residents of Jackson that our goal will not be for them to feel policed, but to feel protected because people want to be protected in their homes,” Lumumba said. “We will continue to not only partner and provide those who work on the front lines each and every day the tools they need to accomplish their goals, but we will unleash every tool in our toolbox to ensure that we create a safer city for all Jacksonians.”

A bulk of the city’s crime has been committed by juveniles in recent years, and much of the criminal activity among youth has been violent. Just last week, a 16-year-old was charged with capital murder for shooting two individuals at a Jackson home, killing one of the victims. City officials have implemented a youth curfew ordinance to tackle crime within the demographic.

Lumumba also explained that he has been working with faith leaders in the community to help place juveniles in safe environments where they will not be inclined to commit crimes. The mayor soon plans to introduce a proposal to the city council that would serve to provide an influx of positive influences for the city’s youth.

Ultimately, Mississippi leaders from all levels are working to address the concerns of residents as well as those who frequently travel to the capital city. Agencies participating in the operation include the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Capitol Police, Homeland Security, the Jackson Police Department, the Hinds County District Attorney, the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the FBI, DEA, and ATF, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tindell, whose office oversees Capitol Police, ensures that this partnership is a long-term commitment, rather than a quick fix.

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