PASCAGOULA, Miss. —
Jackson County Board of Supervisors President John McKay wants to reunify the county's anti-drug task force.
"I think it's time we all grow up and get back on the same team," McKay said Monday, suggesting the supervisors pass a resolution or host a meeting of Sheriff Mike Byrd and police chiefs. "I think we need to get together and put this task force back together,"
Pascagoula, Moss Point and Gautier have been in talks about forming a second, separate task force. They, along with the county sheriff, the city of Ocean Springs and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics have historically contributed agents to one unit.
Having separate task forces "is going to present a lot of conflict, from the way I look at it," McKay said, although admitting he has little experience in law enforcement.
The cities of Pascagoula and Moss Point pulled out of the unit after police chiefs said they didn't get enough information about a July 31 shooting at the task force's office.
A report found the shooting happened after one agent poked another with a syringe. The second agent, afraid of needles, shot into the floor to stop the poking and gunshot debris injured an officer.
Byrd denounced the split later Monday, saying opponents in the Pascagoula department were undercutting him for "purely political" reasons. Byrd said the task force agreement says each agency manages the employees they contribute.
"Enough is enough. They are beating a horse that is already dead," Byrd said in a statement. "I don't feel like anything was kept from anyone. When I was asked about this, I showed the chiefs the reports.
"The chiefs do not tell me when they have a shooting at their department," Byrd continued. "There have been several, including a shooting at the FBI office in Pascagoula and I was never called. Mr. McKay needs to worry about being a supervisor and not try to be the sheriff of Jackson County."
Byrd said he replaced the agents that Moss Point and Pascagoula withdrew and said the task force is still serving the county "on the best possible level," citing 10 arrests that the unit participated in Sunday in Moss Point, including eight in a gambling raid.