I am on a flight north and reading the Packet, and looking at the ads for Sheriff. This may be ill advised, but I must enlighten you about an encounter I had with Lowndes County Sheriff candidate Bo Harris several years ago, which encounter, I feel, is illustrative of Bo’s credentials to hold the office of High Sheriff.
I was on the deck of a camp house, just north of Ruben’s Fish House, and in the river next door were several college age kids enjoying the Tombigbee. As they frolicked in the water, up comes Game Warden Bo Harris, in his Game and Fishing boat with a Sheriff Deputy and a yapping but adorable drug dog. He then questions the college kids, enough to scare them, and then they went on their way to enforce the various drug laws on the Tenn-Tom.
The following week I saw Bo in the Chancery Clerk’s office and asked him what two of the parents of the college kids asked me: “What in the Hell is Bo Harris doing riding around harassing folks on the Tenn-Tom?” To this, Game Warden Harris informed me that “I have more power in the state of Mississippi than any other law enforcement officer, I’m a Game Warden!” When I suggested that Mr. Harris “do something crazy like enforce the game and fish violations.” He stated that “David, there is a lot of dope on those barges coming up the waterway.” When I told him I thought the preferred method of dope distribution from South to Yankeedom was an Impala going about 100 mph, instead of a “slow boat on the Tenn-Tom,” he huffed that “you are the only one to complain; maybe you have something to do with this [I took this to mean the trafficking of dope].” When I suggested that most folks, particularly college kids, are kinda scared of a dope chasing game warden and a narc with a dope dog and guns, he again apprised me of his power and went on his merry way.
I like Bo Harris. He may not like me, for telling this true account, but it did happen. I ain’t sure if Bo is still a game warden, but if so, I hope he continues in that capacity and will look at and realize that just because you have a badge and gun, and “have more power in the state of Mississippi than any other law enforcement officer…,” that the power one is afforded should be used in the manner in which it is intended.
Now Bo desires to be the “top cop” of the County of Lowndes. I don’t know why he wants less power, but if he prevails, he will then have more power in Lowndes County, except for game wardens, than any other law enforcement official.
There are a lot of qualified candidates, and I have my favorite, but will not snake bite him. Since my 28 years of practicing law, I have seen the office of Sheriff morph from a simple law enforcement duty to one that requires many tasks and strengths. Our jail, our county crime, leadership of fine deputies and solving crimes and coordinating with other law enforcement agencies are but a few of the many hats this office requires. It is a job for an administrator, a leader and most of all, one that appreciates the power afforded them and will not abuse that power. We all have seen those in power misuse it, for whatever reason, and the resultant fallout this has to the citizens this affects. Vote for education, experience and qualifications in this election, and one who you will provide a vision for the Sheriff Office that extends beyond their dope dog.