Law enforcement veteran Davis said he’s not interested in being ‘Facebook’ star
Jones County Sheriff candidate Macon Davis wants to wear a star, not be one.
“I’m not interested in being a celebrity on Facebook Live,” he told the standing-room-only crowd at the Citizens Against Corruption meeting at the Myrick Community Center on Thursday night. “There is a time and a place for people to get an announcement from the sheriff. I think my time could be better spent on other things than being a celebrity.”
Davis has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, with stints in the Soso and Laurel police departments and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department and a year as School Resource Officer at South Jones High School. He’s worked as a training officer, road deputy, K-9 officer, narcotics agent and as a Special Response Team member, which includes extra training for high-risk arrests.
“I have a broad spectrum of experience,” he said. “The sheriff has to know what’s going on, making sure that everything is being processed properly. He has to be accessible. It’s a 24/7 job.”
Davis, who left law enforcement to go into private business but returned as a part-time officer in Soso, said he understands how to make and meet a budget.
“Money is tight,” he said. “I know the budget woes. If you’re there, you will know what’s going on and be able to limit waste.”
Davis said he would be a “full-time sheriff” and he would bring back good officers who have left the JCSD over the years.
“I’ve worked with some of the best, and I’m the man who can get them back to work here,” he said.
Davis said he would restore a good working relationship with other law enforcement agencies within the county.
“The sheriff’s department used to deputize one or two officers in each department so they could serve papers or go into the county … that’s no longer being done,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of what (deputies) do is alone. When you’re rolling in the dirt with someone, it’s a great feeling knowing that one of the municipal officers is on the way to help.”
Davis said that he and his deputies would focus on working the counties and only come to the municipalities to assist if requested because “they have very capable people” on the job.
Davis took another shot at three-term Sheriff Alex Hodge when he said that the sheriff’s office shouldn’t be “like Fort Knox,” referring to locked doors at the front of the building since Hodge took over in 2008.
“People should be able to come in and sit down with someone,” he said. “People should have the opportunity to see the sheriff. He’s the man you hired.”
On the campaign trail, Davis said he’s heard many complaints from people who say they can’t get a response from the JCSD. Two people in the audience said that has been the case for them.
“That’s unacceptable,” Davis said. “It’s not an option whether you respond.”
Davis said he plans to use his experience as a narcotics officer to crack down on drugs because that would help solve a lot of problems in the county.
“Our county is getting hammered by burglaries and larcenies,” he said, and the majority are committed to get money for drugs, he added.
“When dealers are out in the open, not afraid of being busted, there’s a problem,” he said, drawing applause from the crowd.
“The safety and the welfare of the people is my heart,” he said. “I know how to get it done. It’s a man-size job.”
Law enforcement in the county shouldn’t be a “one-man show,” Davis said. “We all have to work together.”
His father Max was a longtime deputy in Jones County, Davis said.
“He was one of my greatest teachers,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to work side by side with him. For him to give the best years of his life to this county tells me it’s worth it. I’ll do anything and everything I can to keep people secure.”
Sheriff candidates Joe Berlin and Paul Sumrall Sr. also spoke briefly.
“I’m not going to strip-search some old people over some dogs,” Sumrall said, referring to Hodge’s July raid on Lyon Ranch Road in which Col. David and Mary Ellen Senne had 80-plus dogs seized and were jailed and paraded before TV cameras for a misdemeanor charge. “I’m doing this for the taxpayers. I can run this like a business. I’m 100 percent Republican.”
Berlin, who is a shift supervisor and sergeant at the LPD with 21 years in law enforcement, said “Macon and me know what goes on inside the doors, and the people deserve more” from the sheriff’s department. Berlin said he would be “dedicated 100 percent to the job because it’s a full-time job.”
Other speakers included tax-collector candidate Michael Walker, coroner candidates Burl Hall and Phyllis Welch Pitts, District 3 Justice Court candidate Stacy Walls, Beat 3 Supervisor candidate Phil Dickerson, Beat 3 Constable candidate Mike Sims, Beat 2 Supervisor candidate Larry Dykes and Beat 5 Supervisor candidate George Clark.
At the end of the meeting, resident Leroy Hamilton spoke briefly, saying he had recently called the JCSD to get some advice about people dumping cats in the DeSoto National Forest, near his home. He said he didn’t want to let the cats go hungry, so he was spending about $20 per week on cat food.
“I asked the guy on the phone if someone could come out and make sure I’m doing things the right way because, at 77 years old, I’m not sure I could handle a body-cavity search,” he said.
The man he was talking to hung up on him, Hamilton said.