Now is the time to put up when it comes to crime, or the perception of crime, here

Published 8:02 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

Public safety has become a frequent topic of discussion in Vicksburg.

New South Ward alderman Alex Monsour said “We need to get public safety under control. I’m out there talking to everybody, and it is going to be one of my key issues making sure these neighborhoods are safe,” soon after being officially declared the winner in June.

Then last week a new police chief, veteran officer Milton Moore, took charge of the Vicksburg Police Department.

Moore was appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to replace Walter Armstrong, who had served in the position for eight years.

Flaggs said he selected Moore because, “of his potential, ability and his passion for the city. And I thought he was committed to reducing crime by way of community policing.”

Walter Armstrong was responsible for many positive improvements in our police department and we thank him for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors.

The next four year will be very important in setting Vicksburg up for the future with construction of a water park and sports complex planned, questions about infrastructure to be answered and new leadership working to bring industry to Vicksburg.

For economic development, a good education system and public safety are vastly important when determining if your town can be competitive.

Superintendent Chad Shealy and the Vicksburg Warren School District are on the cutting edge of making the school district the best it can be.

Now, Moore and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be tasked with making sure public safety is also tracking in the right direction. Based on Moore’s plan for the future, it seems as if that is exactly what he is setting out to accomplish.

“We’ve got to be seen,” Moore said as he discussed his immediate plans for the Vicksburg Police Department and the implementation of a community-policing program. “It’s a plan that includes reintroducing the Neighborhood Enforcement Team, putting officers on bicycles and getting officers out of their cars and on foot in neighborhoods meeting residents.”

Building relationships between the police department and the community is the first step ensuring the city is safe and the officers are as effective as possible.

Moore plans to have the NET Team — a special team of officers that steps-up enforcement and patrols in areas in response to frequent citizen complaints about drugs, disturbances, loitering and other problems — up and running by August. He also plans to establish a two-officer DUI unit and hopes to hire 10 new officers that are set to attend the academy in the near future.

The plans are in place and now it is time to execute. The economic future of Vicksburg may very well be riding on it.