James Meredith: Ferguson most important thing since 1930's - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

James Meredith: Ferguson most important thing since 1930's

CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Events in Ferguson have sparked a discussion across the country. There are now questions about whether Mississippi law enforcement would be ready for a large-scale response like the one getting attention in Missouri.

"We hope that we don't ever have those situations," said Sgt. Mike Kelly. "But we like to think that we've got all our contingencies ready for those worst case scenarios."

Using Clinton Police as an example, Kelly says there's a chain of command that would be signaled if a protest broke out in Mississippi.

"In such events, what happens is initial responding officers will address it," explained Kelly. "Once it grows beyond their control, they'll call in those specialized assets, specialized response teams, and if it's a prolonged event then we would call in additional mutual aid assets from the state and federal level."

Certain units train as frequently as twice a month for different scenarios.

"We have to be able to respond to any special situation that arises," said Kelly. "Whether it be your typical barricaded situation like people think of or if it's something like a protest or a protective detail."

James Meredith, whose enrollment more than 50 years ago sparked a riot at Ole Miss, is weighing in on the impact of the unrest.

"The thing that's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, is the most important thing that's happened for the black race, particularly young black males, since the 1930's in Scottsboro, Alabama," described Meredith.

Meredith was referring to the 1931 case where Alabama wanted to execute a group of young black men accused of raping two white women. He went on to say a better example must be set now.

"The problem with the young black youth is their old folks, the old black folks, the old elders are not doing their job," said Meredith.

Law enforcement officers stand ready to protect and serve if called.

"Most of those special response type elements try to stay out of the public light," explained Sgt. Mike Kelly. "We want to do our job and go home and see our families and just get the job done."

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