By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times
Everything is running smoothly at the Eupora Police Department, where Chief Gregg Hunter said the staff works together as a team. “The officers work together well and do a good job,” he said. “With Milinda (Norwood) and Veronica (West) on the front desk, everybody’s doing a good job. … I’m proud to be able to work with them.” Hunter also expressed appreciation to the mayor and Board of Aldermen for supporting the department’s needs to get the job done. Part of that job includes conducting house checks, which average about 450 a month. “As a result, I have seen a decrease in residential burglaries,” the police chief said. Any homeowner (whether they will be at home or not) may request house checks, in which an officer will go by and conduct a physical check of their property. The city was awarded a USDA Rural Development grant in 2010 that was used to buy a Ford F150 pickup for the Police Department. It is being used for animal control by helping enforce the city’s dangerous dog ordinance. “In my opinion, it’s (the ordinance) been a success in bringing people in compliance,” Hunter said. The EPD is also using a Justice Assistance Grant to pay for officer overtime; the grant from the U.S. Justice Department totaled $6,500. The grant has allowed the department to use officers to provide extra coverage for sporting events and double coverage on shifts. “It’s been really a useful tool,” said Hunter. Part of that overtime grant is being used to pay Officer Donald Card to collect old court fines. “He’s done a real good job on this,” Hunter told the Board of Aldermen on March 5. Card had collected $12,132 in fines as of that date, in part by contacting agencies that have helped. Well over $25,000 has been taken off the nearly $100,000 in uncollected city court fines, including that collected by Card plus fines owed by those since deceased or in prison, said Hunter. The city can put a detainer on state inmates that requires them to pay old court fines before they can be released. The department is using a computer received through the Mississippi attorney general’s office to report and track assault arrests/ convictions and protection orders. Norwood, administrative assistant and deputy court clerk, said the system tracks assault charges filed statewide, including those for domestic violence, which helps establish a pattern of behavior. Protection orders are entered into NCIC and can be accessed nationwide. Norwood has attended two related training workshops within the past year. The department’s non-emergency number is 258-4121 (552-4121 between 10 p.m.-8 a.m. and on weekends to speak to an officer). Always call 911 in the event of an emergency situation.