Sheriffs Converge on Meridian

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Law enforcement officials from around Mississippi are meeting in Meridian this week at the annual Mississippi Sheriff's Conference. Topics include the use of radar, better training and national and state legislative issues.

This year's event began with an address from Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell, the President of the National Sheriffs' Association. Ferrell said the job of local law enforcement has changed since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

Ferrell said these changes and the new issue of homeland security will require new ideas and new training methods to protect the quality of life of Americans. Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie also said training is a top priority for local law enforcement, and communication among the neighboring offices is key.

The sheriffs also face another challenge at this conference: radar use in traffic control. In Mississippi the sheriff's department in Lowndes County is the only one permitted to use radar, because of local-private legislation passed years ago. Sollie maintained radar is a necessary tool to curb speeding on county roads.

To this point, the legislature has not agreed and boards of supervisors have not petitioned for it.