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Governor's proposal could bring more officers to high crime areas

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Governor Phil Bryant says one of the top priorities in his budget proposal is public safety, including spending $1.5 million for what he calls strike forces.  

Bryant envisions teams of federal, state, and local law enforcement going into high crime areas and making arrests. He says the officers will move with intense speed to put criminals behind bars. 

The strike teams would be regionally based throughout the state.
 
Bryant says the task forces would be similar to drug interdiction teams that are already in place. 

"There's drug interdiction programs that are available, drug courts. We're gonna work hard on those, but the truth of the matter is a criminal that intends to do someone harm needs to know there's going to be a law enforcement officer there to stop them and we're gonna have somewhere that we can put them," said Bryant. 

He believes the teams will make a statement about public safety.

"Let everyone know that we are going to break that cycle of crime up, that gang activity. I would think that mayors would have to request that support, but I believe we'll get a lot and we'll be able to do some good in a very short period of time," said Bryant.

Bryant hopes the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety would be a part of the strike forces.  

State Senator Sally Doty of Brookhaven is the Vice-Chair of one of the judiciary committees that could push the proposal forward. She says there are some details to work out.

"It's in the very early stages. So I don't have a lot of information, but certainly if we can pool our resources and provide additional law enforcement I think it's a good thing," says Doty. 

Bryant says former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had a similar and successful program in that city.

Mississippi News Now did speak with two Jackson city council members. They say strike forces are a good conversation starter to find the resources available to fight crime in the city. However, both said they would want more information before giving the green light to any such task force in the city.

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