MONROE and LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- The Mississippi Department of Public Safety releases a bulletin advising law enforcement officers across the state to use caution and be on high alert when they are in public.
The warning comes days after an officer-involved shooting in Memphis, TN.
The Gangster Disciples street gang is threatening to strike back against law enforcement after the death of 20-year-old Brandon Webber.
It’s a threat that officers all across Mississippi are taking seriously.
“It makes you stop and think, you know, what could happen,” said Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell.
Cantrell got news of the threats Friday, but he says his officers are trained to always be on high alert.
“I tell them, if they’re stopping and filling up with gas or they’re out eating, be real careful. Be on your toes because you never know when that person or whoever might try to harm one of our deputies or one of our police officers here in Monroe County,” said Cantrell.
The Sheriff said he’s seen a few warnings like this over the years, and his department has a protocol in place.
“What we do is we try to get a picture of that individual and get it to our deputies, so they’ll be familiar with that person,” said Cantrell.
However, Lowndes County Chief Deputy Greg Wright said it’s different dealing with gangs rather than an individual.
“They’re not going to go around here and necessarily bang the gong and say I’m a gang member. They want to kind of keep that quiet. Yes, there’s probably more that people are aware of,” said Wright.
He said some officers may be more vulnerable than others.
“For instance, if it’s non-uniform personnel like an investigator or a narcotics investigator, we try to tell them as much as you can or as much as possible try to have a uniform presence with you when you do your job,” said Wright.
Both departments said gang-related violence towards law enforcement is on the rise.
“According to the media and according to the things that we see on social media and through news and things like that it does appear that there’s a rise in incidents against law enforcement officers or incidents that law enforcement officers are involved in. Yes, it does appear to be so,” said Wright.
“Across the United States, you’ll see where a gang member or a hate group will just walk right up and execute a police officer at a gas station or a cafe. You know, where people hang out, coffee shops, things of that nature,” said Cantrell.
Officers said, at the end of the day, it’s a risk that comes with the job.
“There’s inherent dangers when doing this job anyway. You want your officers to be aware that there is a threat that’s out there that’s been made by a gang, and you want to take the measures that you need to take to protect yourself. Not only yourself but the citizens as well,” said Wright.
The Gangster Disciples are one of the three largest street gangs in Mississippi according to a study by Fusion Center.