Deputies step in to help protect park

Published 7:04 pm Saturday, January 12, 2019

Beginning Saturday, Warren County sheriff’s deputies are assisting rangers at the Vicksburg National Military Park with patrols, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“The sheriff’s office and the rangers in the Vicksburg National Military Park have always enjoyed a good working relationship,” Pace said. “With the government shutdown, we are now partnering with the Park Service to provide patrols through the park.”

He said the sheriff’s office has concurrent, or shared, jurisdiction in the park with the rangers, adding, “We will provide deputies to patrol the park when the park rangers are unable to be there.”

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The move is the latest in an effort by volunteers and local officials to keep the park open to visitors during the government shutdown.

The Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign announced in December it would provide funding for basic operations at the park, which is estimated at $2,000 per day during the shutdown.

“We are committed to seeing through this process as long as we can,” Friends executive director Bess Averett said. “We work together all year on important projects and events for VNMP. We can think of no higher priority project we can take on than keeping the gates and museums open and sharing this amazing treasure with the public.”

The organization has also been collecting private donations to keep the park operating.

Its efforts received a boost Jan. 2 when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution to match the Friends’ contributions up to $2,000 a day to keep the park open during the federal government shutdown.

“It’s sad to say that we’ve come to this point where the highest government of the land has come to an impasse that’s caused a shutdown, and it’s impacting us like we never thought it would,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said after the board’s action.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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