HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – On Wednesday, May 4, state leaders announced the new Hinds County Public Safety Initiative during a news conference at the Mississippi State Capitol.

The Mississippi State Legislature passed, and Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) signed into law, several bills that make substantial investments in the public safety and criminal justice systems. These investments were made through state agencies and state employees and will lead to increased police officers on the streets of Jackson and more resources to hold those who commit crimes accountable in court.

State leadders hope to collaborate with the Hinds county courts, local law enforcement, and community leaders to implement the new initiative.

“We are incredibly thankful for this new initiative that is going to help us prosecute crimes in a more timely manner in Hinds County and ultimately, we hope, reduce the crime rate,” said Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens. “The Hinds County Public Safety Initiative will allow us to hire temporary judges, assistant district attorneys, and public defenders to hold those who commit crimes accountable.”

As part of the initiative, the Legislature approved millions of dollars in three separate appropriations bills for additional staff at the District Attorney’s office, new special temporary judges appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court, and public defenders to assist in the judicial process. The Legislature also added 37 new officers to the Capitol Police force, bringing its total to 150 officers, appropriated funds for Capitol Police equipment and technology, and invested in upgrades in the State Crime Lab.

“People from around the state come to the Capital City for medical care, jobs, recreation, events, and school field trips but crime and violence jeopardizes these lawful activities,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann (R-Miss.). “We will continue to do our part to make resources available to state agencies and state employees charged with securing the CCID, ensure justice is delivered in the courts, and partner with city and county officials to make Jackson a safe and vibrant place to live and work.”

Funding for this new initiative goes into effect in July 2022.