By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Newly elected Corinth Ward I Alderman Chris Wilson, who campaigned on a platform of reducing crime in Corinth, is open to developing a written policy about notifying schools of nearby shootings.
Wilson made the statement after Corinth Today asked him last week if he thinks the city needs to adopt a written policy about notifying schools of nearby shootings.
Wilson said he needs to speak with Corinth Police Chief Ralph Dance to gain more information.
“I don’t see a problem with having some kind of written policy but will speak with Ralph Dance and see what he thinks,” Wilson said in an email to Corinth Today on Monday. “I like to get all sides involved and see what makes the most sense.”
During the campaign Wilson stated, “Above all, my first concern is the safety of this community.”
Wilson also said in the campaign, “I returned to Corinth with my family a decade ago to raise my child in the safe atmosphere of my hometown. This quiet community has been inundated with manifesting drug issues and crime since I returned. I’d like to see my hometown return to the quiet, safe place it once was.”
Wilson also stressed the need to better support law enforcement with more officers and additional funding.
A shooting occurred less than a mile from Corinth Elementary School last week at the corner of Wick and Young streets. It remains unclear when the school district was notified of the shooting.
The suspect, who was not in custody until the next day, had also been arrested about two weeks before on a charge of felon in possession of a handgun.
Corinth City Clerk Vickie Roach said in an email to Corinth Today last week that it is her “understanding” that the city does not have a written procedure about notifying schools if shootings occur nearby.
“It is my understanding there is no written procedures; however, there are procedures in place by the Corinth Police Department and the Corinth School District in the event of various emergency conditions, which Chief (Ralph) Dance will be able to address,” Roach stated in the email.
Chief Dance told Corinth Today on Friday that the police department notifies the schools if it is deemed necessary. Dance said the schools were not in any danger during last week’s shooting less than a mile away from Corinth Elementary.
Meanwhile, Corinth Today has requested copies of the protocols and procedures used by local school districts and law enforcement agencies in the event of shootings near and within schools.
Corinth Today sent emails to Alcorn County Sheriff Ben Caldwell, Corinth Police Department Detective Capt. Dell Green, Corinth School District Superintendent Dr. Lee Childress and Alcorn School District Superintendent Larry Mitchell seeking the information.
The information is being sought in hopes of informing the community, especially parents who have children in the local schools, about the response plans that are in place if shootings occur at or near schools in Corinth and Alcorn County.
Alcorn County attorney Bill Davis responded on behalf of Caldwell, saying, “Of course any written plans or procedures are exempt from disclosure under 25-61-12(2). Therefore for the safety of the public and law enforcement any such matters won’t be disclosed. However, please know that any time there is a threat to the safety of a school, ACSD will certainly notify the appropriate school authorities. The safety of students is ACSD’s top priority.”
Below is the statute cited by Davis: