Juvenile arrests in Starkville becoming a common theme; Police chief pushing for positive change

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — It has been a repeated cycle for the Starkville Police Department in recent months.

Juveniles arrested and facing severe charges, putting their future in jeopardy.

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Starkville Police Chief Mark Ballard is pushing for a change to help these juveniles stay out of trouble.

“Too often when the individual turns 18, they are lost in the criminal justice system,” said Chief Ballard.

Juveniles and bad decisions have gone hand-in-hand as of late said Chief Ballard.



“Over the past month we’ve had since our last report we had 11 stolen weapons that are related to auto burglary” he said. “Most of our auto burglaries were driven by juveniles we’ve had vehicle pursuits and we’ve had aggravated assaults.”

Oktibbeha County Youth Court Judge Lydia Quarles, said a majority of juvenile arrests are men, some who may lack a father figure in their life.

“I can only tell you what the literature says,” said Quarles. “The literature says that it is a tremendous impact that boys love their mamas but they pay attention to their dads.”

Quarles said a positive role model is one way to help juveniles head in the right direction.

“One of the things that Chief Ballard and I have talked about is a possibility of having some kind of intramural sports,” she said. “So that these kids could be placed with law enforcement officers and they will see them as a friend as opposed to an enemy. And I think actually law enforcement could make great headway in being a role model for some of these children.”

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