Featured Story-STOP-Good Friday plans

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2012

Panola Sheriff Dennis Darby (right) discusses problems of ongoing violence with Nancy Spencer following Saturday’s STOP meeting at the Batesville courthouse. The Panolian photos by Rupert Howell

STOP has plans for Good Friday

By Rupert Howell

Sheriff Dennis Darby told members of STOP their actions were working and for the group to continue doing what they are doing before asking aloud, “Do we have a God that answers prayer?”

“I believe we do,” Darby said answering his own question and telling the group, “I’m proud to be here and I appreciate what you’re doing.”

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Showing signs of emotion, the usually stoic sheriff said of the violent offenders, “Their families love them. I need to treat your kids like mine. But sometimes we’ve got to be mean,” he reminded the group.

STOP (Stop The Ongoing Problem) is a group working against the problem of violence and was begun after a shooting incident took the life of a young man in Batesville in January.

The group has been meeting weekly on Saturday mornings in different locations throughout the county in order to the entire county involved and has sponsored parades, rallies, prayer and fasting sessions to deal with violence.

Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones also commended the group for its work. He explained that communication was a key to controlling violence and blamed parents in many occasions for the crimes of the youth.

“We (BPD) arrested a 13-year-old for house burglaries. How do we get to the parents?” Jones asked.

“We cannot get the adults in the community to stand up… Nobody knows nothing, saw nothing,” Jones stated before giving a recent example of, “bullets flying everywhere in the middle of the day with people standing on the street — but nobody saw nothing.

“We can make our community safer just by communicating,” Jones added.

Darby also reminded the group that drug use and gangs were not just a problem with the black population and noted that an affiliated gang of “white boys” had been recently arrested for meth manufacture and distribution.

Darby also said his department was working with state and federal agencies in multi-county dope related investigations.

STOP has plans for a county-wide “Shout Out” and prayer service from 11a.m. to 12 noon Good Friday, April 6 in different locations in every municipality throughout  county  to show unity against violence and seek solutions through prayer.
 The event will preceded by three days of fasting from midnight until 12 noon beginning Ash Wednesday according to Dr. Zannie Leland.