County seeks meeting with city over unresolved police, fire dispatching issue

Published 5:25 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

NATCHEZ — Adams County Board of Supervisors asked for a joint meeting with the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen to discuss the future of the joint E-911 Center.

The county has been looking for a new location to house the center, which right now operates from offices in the basement of the Adams County Jail.

That location suffers from a number of conditions, including raw sewage and rainwater that run down the walls at times and the constant presence of mold and mildew.

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Annette Fells, manager of the center, has found another facility in which to locate dispatchers. However, that would require the county to purchase a building for $275,000 and pay approximately $80,000 for renovations.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said the county cannot purchase a new building until it knows whether the city is going to continue on as part of the center.

He asked board attorney Scott Slover to set up a joint meeting with the city to discuss the issue, including the situation at the Adams County Jail, which houses those who are arrested and charged by the City of Natchez Police Department.

Slover said he talked with Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson over the weekend, who told him he had not had the opportunity to go over the proposal that includes the new building.

“The mayor said he was waiting on his chief of police, who believes they can save more money by going separately,” Slover said.

Gibson, contacted after the supervisors’ meeting Monday, said he has since looked at the proposal sent him by the county.

“The police chief (Joseph Daughtry) believes he can achieve some significant savings over what they are proposing,” Gibson said. “We need a little more time. The chief has not had time over the last two or three weeks to spend on this issue. He has been very busy. He spent lots of time preparing for the armed march through Natchez last weekend by the out-of-town gun club, and he was just elected the president of the state’s police chief association.

“It is important we be very respectful of city funds. We hope to have more information soon, maybe even this week. We hope we can come to a resolution very soon,” he said.

Gibson said he and the aldermen would meet with the board of supervisors to discuss the issue.

Fells was asked by Supervisor Kevin Wilson what would happen to 911 calls for the city, if the city were no longer part of the E-911 center.

“Those calls will continue to come to us, and we would transfer them to the city,” Fells responded.

Gibson said he is not suggesting the city and county not continue 911 as a coordinated effort.

“We just need to look at what the chief is suggesting. At the end of the day, I would love to see the services continue to be combined, but we must make sure the cost is the best it can be and we provide the best service we can provide,” Gibson said.

The city and county consolidated its law enforcement and fire dispatch into the E-911 Center in April 2017.