Ridgeland Police make school residency arrest - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Ridgeland Police make school residency arrest

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Ridgeland Police say on Monday, 47-year-old Aurora Baugh of Jackson tried to pass a bogus rental lease to enroll her child at Ridgeland High School. Last November, a city ordinance went into effect making it a misdemeanor to misrepresent your residency at a Madison County school. As part of standard procedure, police attempted to verify the Ridgeland address.

They contacted the person Baugh named as her landlord.

"When we talked to him, he indicated he did know Ms. Baugh.  But she had come to see about some rental property, but had never entered into a lease agreement with him," says Ridgeland Police Lt. John Neal. "The lease agreement was shown to the landlord. He indicated his signature had been forged on that document. She was not renting from him."

Baugh currently is not facing a forgery charge, but she will face a judge in February for the charge of misrepresentation of residency. Maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

"It could be a full-time job," says Ridgeland school resource officer Sergeant Gary Davis, who made the arrest. It's his job to check the address of all new families enrolling in Ridgeland schools. Thursday, we met up with him at a Ridgeland apartment complex, where he wanted to check up on a particular resident.

"Part of this ordinance gives a duty upon them to report to me or the district within 7 days of an school age child registering into their complex or house, and 7 days with a child leaving that residency." Sergeant Davis says.  

First he talks to the leasing agent.  The agent says she believes the resident in question is still living there.

A knock on the door confirms it.

Ironically, the new ordinance gives police and the courts more power by making the consequences of the residency crime less severe.

"The only charge we had (before) was a felony charge. We don't want to take that to the Grand Jury. We had a city ordinance developed to make it a misdemeanor," Davis says.

©2009 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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