JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes held a community meeting on Thursday where Jackson neighbors were able to voice their concerns about the Capitol Police.
Many people said they’re glad to have more officers on the streets, but they are also questioning the jurisdiction of the Capitol Police, their training and their tactics.
Stokes held the meeting with the goal of helping the community and law enforcement find some common ground. He said many people are still unaware that Capitol Police are now a law enforcement agency and no longer just providing security downtown. There was also confusion about their jurisdiction, which was clarified by the Public Safety Commissioner.
“It covers all the way up to the Fondren area, and it comes down South all the way over to Jackson State University. Then on the East, we run all the way up to Interstate 55, except for when you get to Lakeland. You cut over a portion with the Worker’s Comp Commission, and then you come back on Interstate 55 next to Fondren,” said Sean Tindell, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The meeting comes after a deadly Capitol Police-involved shooting on Sunday, where little information has been released.
DPS officials said it’s always tragic when a life is lost, but said the department will continue to pursue suspects and use deadly force if needed.
“If you pull a gun on one of my officers, they’re going to react with deadly force. We will pursue people. We will chase people. However, we will not do it in a reckless manner,” said Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey.
Tindell said the department is exploring differing, safer ways to pursue like using helicopters or drones. However, members of the community strongly disagree with chasing through Jackson, and even accused the department of possible racial profiling.
“A large percentage of your force is not African American. Like many police forces across the country, there is a real need for specialized training in race relations and racial stereotypes.”
“Don’t tell me I’m trying to kill Black people in the City of Jackson. We’re here because we want to make it safe. I stopped seeing color when I was young. My cousin just married a Black man and I’m happy for her because he’s a good guy. I don’t care,” said Tindell.
He said one of his main goals is to have more transparency within his department, to build trust within the communities they now serve.
Tindell said he believes Capitol Police can do a better job engaging with the community, and he plans to get more involved.