OUR OPINION: Sheriff Pace’s integrity invariably unmatched

Published 6:00 am Friday, May 6, 2022

This week, the people of Warren County got a firsthand glimpse at the kind of man they elected sheriff.

Standing before the Board of Supervisors on Monday morning, Sheriff Martin Pace asked not only for his annual salary to be reduced by $5,000 but also requested to pay back the difference he subsequently owed. Humbly referring to the issue as a “bookkeeping matter, really,” Pace certainly set a precedent for other public servants faced with compensation discrepancies.

Although it was later determined that Pace’s salary would not decrease due to population decline in the county, we have to commend our local lawman for his integrity in this matter.

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Not only did Pace take it upon himself to verify census numbers in Warren County. He also made a conscious decision to publicize the issue when he likely would’ve gotten away with taking home an extra $5,000 every year. Surely, it would be difficult to argue the sheriff doesn’t earn every dollar he receives.

In a recent conversation with The Post, Pace stated that crime in the county is lower now than it was 10 years ago — that’s nothing to sneeze at. And most times, he’s at the center of the action. Since this time last year, Pace has jumped down a literal well to save a distressed dog, tracked down criminals in high-speed chases, put his own life on the line countless times and talked down situations that could’ve gone way worse for all involved.

And that’s just what’s been in the paper.

In addition to going above and beyond the call of duty, Pace also has made a point to take care of the sheriff’s office staff.

One could look far and wide across the state of Mississippi — the whole Southeast for that matter — and you’d be hard-pressed to find a sheriff who was willing to take a pay cut nearly a year after successfully advocating for a pay raise for jailers.

If anything, Pace deserves a raise himself — or at least a pat on the back, even though the folks who know him know the truth.

The sheriff didn’t come before the Board of Supervisors on Monday seeking praise or recognition; he came to the county simply because it was the right thing to do.

Whether we’re in uniform each day or not, it’s safe to say we can all take a page from Martin Pace’s handbook on this one.