Thursday, January 10, 2008
Byhalia gets DUI officer
By SUE WATSON
Byhalia Police Chief Gary Looney announced last week that his department has hired a DUI officer with money from a state/federal grant.
The funds cover the salary and fringe benefits to pay for a full-time officer, the cost of camcorders for two patrol cars and money for education.
Johnathan Rider has accepted the position. Formerly of Corinth, Rider has been in law enforcement since October 2001 and most recently worked with the Mississippi Department of Transportation in Olive Branch.
He lives in Byhalia, and is the son of a part-time police officer in Farmington, Terry Rider, and of Pam Wren, assistant manager for Kroger in Corinth.
Rider, 24, is a graduate of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy at Pearl and served as a part-time police officer in Farmington.
Looney said the grant is part of a statewide program to implement counter measures to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“The sole purpose of the full-time officer is to concentrate on DUI enforcement, and enforce seatbelt, child restraint laws and to check for suspended or revoked driver’s licenses,” he said. “The primary concern is DUI and safety equipment.”
And the grant brings one more officer to the force for a year, according to commander Clyde Gunter with the police department. This is the first time the Town of Byhalia has received a grant for an officer and brings the total force to 16 full-time or part-time officers.
The grant requires the department conduct one safety checkpoint per month and two checkpoints during holidays, Looney said.
“I think this is an asset to our department and to the community,” he said.
Gunter said, “This gives us additional resources to get drunk drivers off the road. Another interesting thing, the grants get all the communities involved in this type of campaign. It saves lives and enables the state to obtain more federal dollars for law enforcement.
“The more results you show the federal government, the more money they make available to the state.”
The Byhalia Police Department covers the area west to the DeSoto County line, east to Rabbit Ridge Road, south to Tunstall Road and north to Bubba Taylor Road.
Looney was named chief of police in Byhalia in June 2007, and prior to that was working full-time with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. He has 27 years experience in law enforcement.
Gunter came to Byhalia from the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and has 13 years experience in law enforcement.
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