MHP officials must work with supervisors

Published 7:28 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

The Warren County Supervisors have made an effort and it is time for the Mississippi Highway Patrol to reply in kind by being patient and working with the supervisors to keep the driver’s license location in Vicksburg.

In November, MHP Lt. Ola Kirk, who took over as Region Director of Driver Services in September, told the supervisors during a work session the facility — which is provided for at no cost by the county — did not pass the requirements of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The chief concerns are the lack of a second exit for employees during an emergency, no private bathroom for employees and a waiting room that doesn’t meet minimum requirements. The waiting area must be 600-squre-feet and have a minimum of 25 chairs, currently there are only nine.

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The complaints were seemingly dropped on the supervisors out of the blue in November and the MHP immediately began threatening to move the office to Sharkey County if their demands weren’t quickly met.

As a government agency itself, MHP must recognize that nothing happens immediately when plans must be made and bids sent out all before work can begin.

The Supervisors originally looked at remodeling the current office, which MHP itself designed, but it may not be feasible.

The board also discussed available space next to the Justice Court building and expanding that facility to include the MHP office. The supervisors also mentioned swapping facilities the county currently owns and occupies, as well as other buildings within the city limits that are for sale.

It is time for the MHP to work with the supervisors to find a suitable location and drop the notion of moving the office to Sharkey County. It would be unacceptable to leave a county with more than 40,000 residents and what Richard George estimated as 20-25,000 drivers without a driver’s license location.

The current office already serves as many as 1,600 people each month including drivers in Warren, Claiborne, Issaquena, western Hinds, southern Yazoo and southern Sharkey counties.

The best option is for MHP to work with the board of supervisors to find a location that meets its needs, be patient during the process and consider adding more renewal kiosks in surrounding counties to lessen the wait times and amount of traffic at the Warren County office.