Columbus Police Department VIPER unit strikes crime

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Columbus has a new police unit on the scene and it’s called VIPER.

It specializes in fighting crime throughout the city.

Chief Joseph Daughtry formed the VIPER unit shortly after his agency left the Lowndes County Narcotics Task Force.

It may be a new unit but it has a clear mission.

Last week, WCBI rode with the detectives to see how they operate, what they’re looking for, and how they plan to make a difference.

Before even putting on the bulletproof vest for a five-hour ride along, the VIPER unit was called to a shooting.

By the time detectives arrived, a pastor had the accused gunman in custody. That’s where the man ran after the gunshots and the reverend prayed with him.

Daughtry said the community plays a vital role in catching criminals.

“These are the partnerships I talk about. We couldn’t have done it without the pastor,”  said Daughtry.

VIPER stands for Violent Immediate Police Emergency Response.

Four men make up the unit. Two of them are contracted agents for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, giving them full jurisdiction throughout the state.

The task force is also learning from the Attorney General on how to specifically tackle sex trafficking cases.

These detectives are always keeping their eyes on the street and it didn’t take long to see something unusual.

Detective Robinson explained what happened.

“He essentially just had a pistol. We saw him with it tryna go get another car that didn’t have a tag on that vehicle. While we drove past, he had a gun up in the air waving it. So we go the firearm secured right now,” said Robinson.

“This gentleman was waving his friend down with a gun, just to speak to him,” said Detective Madison.

“Yea, I was flagging my homeboy down,” said Robinson.

The VIPER Unit handles a wide range of situations, including high-risk drug busts, armed robberies, and arresting fugitives.

They have a variety of tactics, including undercover operations, intelligence gathering, and collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.

This group is always on call and patrolling even when the sun goes down. Things change on a dime.

One of the VIPER detectives was hit by a car and that’s when a pursuit started. Lowndes County deputies were also involved in the chase and arrest.

“We’ve got both subjects in custody,” said Daughtry. “And this is what we face.”

The officer hit by the car was not injured.

However, these few short hours show the dangers this group faces and why they believe this unit can make a safer community.

Some of the people in the story are facing criminal charges in the city.

For 24/7 news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News