Sheriff honored for work on anti-gang legislation

Published 12:06 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sheriff honored for work on anti-gang legislation

Jimmy Anthony (left) and Daniel Dunlap present Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby with a plaque of appreciation for his support of the Mississippi Association for Gang Initiatives. Darby works with the MAGI and shares information to help the organization draft legislation to control gang activity in the state.
The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

By Myra Bean
“We have gangs,” said Jimmy Anthony, vice president of Mississippi Association of Gang Investigators (MAGI).
Anthony, along with MAGI secretary/treasurer, Daniel Dunlap, presented Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby a plaque in appreciation of his help in supporting legislation to stem gang activity.
Personally, Anthony knows what it is like to be caught up in a gang situation. In 1996 he was shot by a child.
“It bothers me that child never had a chance to do anything with his life,” he said.
Anthony said gang activity has escalated over the years, not only in Panola County, but in the state as well. MAGI is only focused on gang activity in Mississippi.
Anthony and Darby have worked hand-in-hand to come up with legislation to curtail escalating gang activity.
One of the newest proposals on the table will concern “contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” according to Anthony.
The law would state that if an active gang member approaches a juvenile about joining a gang, he/she will be prosecuted.
“We are trying to save the next generation of children,” Anthony said.
MAGI educates police officers across the state about gang activity in Mississippi.
“We don’t talk about gangs in Chicago or elsewhere,” Anthony said. “We focus on Mississippi. We have narrowed it down to the details of what is going on here in comparison to when the law was written in 1973. Gangs are totally different so we have written the law to actually be able to combat them on today’s field.”
Anthony said Panola County’s gang condition is in a “serious situation” without going into any specific numbers.
“That’s what I want people to understand. The gangs of history are not what’s here today. It’s all about greed, money and power,” he said.
There is a saying among gang members that you have to die to get out. “That is not true,” Anthony said. Anthony said they are out to change that mindset.
“Being in a gang is a choice,” he said.

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