Elsewhere in this publication you can read a couple of stories about the City of Batesville cutting support to the Panola Narcotics Task Force and using the assets to “better” fight drugs in Batesville if you listen to BPD’s side of the story.
The other side’s version is a little different and has Panola’s Chief Sheriff Deputy Otis Griffin concerned that a house divided cannot stand, or won’t serve the public as well as a unified effort.
Panola County Sheriff Shot Bright, who is ultimately in charge of the county’s task force, says that the current six-man unit will continue to “work drugs” in Batesville and the rest of Panola County although it may be with five men, as the City of Batesville has eliminated its $80,000 contribution–and one task force officer.
And one Batesville alderman mentioned that the force needed a year without the city’s funding so that they don’t take the municipality’s participation for granted.
The elephant sitting in the room is that the current sheriff and BPD’s special operations officer, Jamie Tedford, were involved in two hotly contested political campaigns for sheriff. Many of those involved with the controversial funding will say, off the record only, that personalities involved are the cause for the impending split with competing agencies.
Playing politics over politics is expected. But a power struggle at this level of local law enforcement can do no good for the citizens whom these agencies are expected to protect.