Relationships with nearby counties are crucial in emergency situations

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WEBSTER COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Last week a six-hour shooting spree sent shock waves through Webster County, but it didn’t stop there.

Several neighboring police agencies and sheriff’s departments also responded to the call.

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When Deputy Dillion Cates arrived at the scene last Wednesday, he wasn’t expecting to be leaving with bullet holes in his car.

He said he immediately knew to call for backup.

“We knew we were going to need some shields and better ballistic protection so I asked to contact the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Starkville Police swat team because of course, they are better equipped than just your patrol units would be,” said Cates.

Chickasaw County Sheriff James Meyers said this is something that happens from time to time in smaller counties.

“You know how it is with budgets. We’re a small county too, just like Webster County with manpower and budget. Sometime you just can’t get things that you need above and beyond,” said Meyers.

With a situation like the one in Webster, officers at the scene needed more resources than their department had on hand.

They say their first instinct was to reach out to other departments in their own county.

“In those situations, most of the time you’re going to get a response, but such as us, we did have an agency that wasn’t able to respond due to their supervisor, so then you have to move to your next option,” said Cates.

That next option is usually a neighboring county.

“Officers were aware of it. We were ready to go if we were needed,” said Meyers.

Although Chickasaw County deputies didn’t end up having to assist this past week, they said they always keep an ear out in case they are needed.

“Our radios now, you know, we have it where you can just be on our local channel, or we can scan several channels at one time. We scan a lot of the city police departments as well as the county Sheriff’s offices,” said Meyers.

When it comes to extreme cases, officers said some of the normal procedures can be bypassed.

“If something comes across the radio that an officer is involved in a shooting or an officer is down, we will immediately head that way until we’re turned around by that agency,” said Meyers.

“In a situation like that, it doesn’t matter who it is. Of course, city units and county units have to have permission from their supervisors to leave the area, but at that time it doesn’t matter. Once an officer puts out a call for help, it doesn’t matter who you work for, you know, we just need you there,” said Cates.

Sometimes assistance from other counties can last longer. The Webster County Sheriff’s Department said they are thankful for the donation of four vehicles from Mathiston PD and Oktibbeha County after their own were damaged by gunfire.

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