October 11, 2018 10:36:47 AM
More than 250 suspects of violent crimes were arrested in a month-long combined operation of law enforcement in North Mississippi last month.
Sheriff's departments in both Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties, as well as Starkville Police Department, worked with more than 30 other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, during the operation, which began in mid-August and lasted through September.
It's one of several combined operations North Mississippi agencies have worked over the years that both crack down on crimes and strengthen bonds and networking between law enforcement departments, Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge said -- something LCSO is almost always involved in because one of the county's deputies is a federal marshal.
"A lot of cities and counties don't have that," Arledge said. "We've been part of the U.S. marshals service for about 11 years. We're just about included in just about any operation."
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the goal of the joint operation was to identify and arrest violent criminals, particularly those involved in gang activity, in northeast Mississippi. In addition to 255 arrests, authorities also seized more than $52,000 worth of narcotics and 76 firearms and even recovering a handful of stolen vehicles.
While the majority of the arrests took place in Monroe County, Lee County and other areas north of the Golden Triangle, both Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties received assistance from marshals in serving indictments handed down in the most recent grand jury sessions.
As important, Arledge and Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney said, was the law enforcement networking aspect the operation provided.
"It just helps to network with so many different city, county (agencies) and federal marshals," Arledge said. "You have such a big network to help one another. And of course it helps when you have numbers. ... Say you're going to make 10 arrests in one night in one area. You may have 20 officers or 30 officers there. ... You've got a show of force."
"If something happens in this county, I want as much help as I can get," he said. "We have good relationships with all these different agencies and we certainly call on them when we need them and when they need our assistance, we'll assist them."
Arledge raised the example of a case several months ago in which several Columbus residents were implicated in a crime in Georgia. When U.S. marshals came to Lowndes County to arrest the suspects, they received help from local law enforcement.
On the other hand, when a suspect from a Columbus crime is located in Biloxi, he said, all he has to do is make a call.
Gladney added it's important for larger agencies to assist smaller ones.
"Some of the counties, especially these rural counties, they might not have but eight or 10 deputies total," Gladney said. "If something happens, something big, in their county, they need assistance and manpower too. We're more than glad to pitch in and help, do whatever we can."
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