Hinds County Sheriff-Elect Tyree Jones says it was a good feeling to see his hard work and dedication come to fruition on election night. He says it was very important that he won running a clean campaign devoid of mudslinging from his camp.
“I made it clear from the moment I decided to run that I was going to run a professional campaign. But what I did want to do was tell the people the truth,” he states. “The people don’t want to hear all of that. The people want to know what you’re going to do for them and for Hinds County. That’s solely what I concentrated on.”
Jones soundly defeated Interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler in the run-off election November 23rd. Jones pulled away early and cruised to victory with 60% of the vote to Crisler’s 40%. Jones said he was surprised by the margin initially but gained more confidence as the night progressed.
“My campaign manager started texting me saying she had some early returns, and in the next few minutes, I had won about ten boxes. These were major areas of the county,” he said. “The hard work that I had put in in Hinds County over 22 years was paying off.”
As the head law enforcement official in the county, Jones says the most immediate issue is addressing the jail and the recent consent decree that looms over it. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has given Hinds County officials three weeks to explain why the Raymond Detention Center should not be taken over by the federal government. The 28-page order outlines the ongoing problems at the detention center. Jones says he and the Hinds County Board of Supervisors have already had preliminary meetings on a plan to save the jail.
“During the campaign, voters were led to believe that we were working our way out from under the decree. That’s not true,” he said. “We’re nowhere near ready to come from under it. In fact, we’re moving backwards. This is a dire situation.”
If the needs of the decree are not met, the detention center could go under receivership or federal control which will crush the department’s budget. That will mean a loss of staff and resources. Jones says the priority will be to save the current detention facility but simultaneously start the discussion of building a new jail.
“This is a legal issue. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right counsel on board to guide us through this process,” he said.
Jones says he wants to emphasize that while crime in Jackson is a top issue for him, he still has to protect all of Hinds County – incorporated and unincorporated. It is important, he added, to service those citizens with a law enforcement presence and response. He says it not only takes law enforcement, but the people have to be involved. And that, he says, is going to take building trust back.
“Churches, schools, non-profit organizations. Sometimes the mere presence of boots on the ground, showing that you are accessible, will make the people come talk to you. I’m the sheriff of Hinds County, but I’m human. This is what I’ve been doing for 22 years,” says Jones.
For the Jackson Advocate’s full interview with Sheriff-Elect Jones: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5tG3aaDMA1YLgX6o4n3GBr?si=d8884fd1bac84bc5