The Batesville Police Department will begin investigating accidents on Interstate 55 within the city limits on Jan. 1.
Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper First Class Joseph Miller says the Highway Patrol had been investigating the accidents as a help to the city.
“Our manpower is so low we just can’t anymore,” Miller said.
A state law dating back to 1972 provides that police departments will investigate all accidents that occur within the city limits.
“It’s always been theirs to work, we’ve just always done it because we were able to help,” Miller told The Panolian (http://bit.ly/19kliht ).
Mayor Jerry Autrey said the Highway Patrol wants the cities to put pressure on the Legislature to come up with some more money for the Department of Public Safety to hold a school to turn out more state troopers to help fill gaps that will be created by retirements.
“At night when we have three men on patrol here in the city, if we have something up there, then we’re not going to be protected in the city,” Autrey said.
Police Chief Tony Jones said the Panola County Sheriff’s Department has been good about helping. Jones said in the event of a major accident or a chemical spill he can call on Panola County Emergency Management Agency Daniel Cole and the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Haz-Mat team.
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