Governor offers up public safety priorities in his Executive Budget Recommendation

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 7:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - WLBT is continuing our breakdown of how Governor Tate Reeves wants lawmakers to use your taxpayer dollars. We previously focused on his education agenda. Now, 3 On Your Side is turning our attention to public safety.

Capitol Police don’t patrol all of the capital city. But, their expanding role is one that the Governor and Public Safety Commissioner want to continue to see funded.

“They gave us the funding to hire 115 or get the hiring’s up to 115 Capitol police officers, the governor’s proposal will allow us to get up to that 150 mark and hopefully go beyond it,” explained Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell.

“I’ve told the head of the Department of Public Safety to keep hiring,” noted Governor Tate Reeves. “And if we have to go to the legislature and ask for a deficit, that it’s worth it.”

If you’ve wondered about school safety measures, here’s what the Governor is proposing. He wants to see the creation of the Mississippi School Safety Guardian Program. It would allow school employees to be trained and certified to be armed through training with the Department of Public Safety.

“In the event that there was an active shooter, to have somebody that is on the scene that could hopefully minimize any sort of damage caused by an active shooter is by no means meant to replace or supplant law enforcement officers or school resource officers, we feel like that’s the best case scenario,” noted Tindell.

But Tindell views it as an added layer of protection along with increased funding for officers dedicated to doing threat assessments at schools across the state.

The final highlight of the public safety section in the budget recommendations is to “hold those who try to evade police accountable.”

Reeves is proposing that lawmakers increase the penalties for people who refuse to pull over for the cops, including upping the max jail time if that causes injury or death to another person. I asked the Governor if any of the recent high-profile chases impacted his decision to include those.

“If you know that you’re in a jurisdiction, where even if I flee, even if I run if I commit a crime, I’m gonna get found and I’m gonna get arrested, and I’m going to spend the adequate amount of time has allowed for under the law in prison, then you’re less likely to commit that crime,” said Reeves. “And so I think it’s more about that than any specific high-profile chase.”

Lawmakers will be back at the Capitol on January 3, 2023. The executive budget recommendation isn’t the gospel, but rather more of a blueprint.

To view the full Executive Budget Recommendation, click HERE.

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