Luke announces candidacy

Published 6:52 pm Monday, July 16, 2007

Luke announces candidacy

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Luke has announced his candidacy and released this statement.)

As a law enforcement officer and administrator of nearly 35 years, I recognize the challenges our county is facing. I realize the importance of strong, informed and prepared leadership at this juncture in our county’s growth. This is the reason I now choose to offer myself as a candidate for Sheriff of Pearl River County. I am currently the Chief of the Picayune Police Department. I am a fifth generation Mississippian and a resident of Carriere. I graduated from Picayune Memorial High School, attended Pearl River Junior College, University of Southern Mississippi and received my CPP (Certified Protection Professional) in 1991.

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My parents are Mary and the late James Luke of Carriere. I am married to the former Karen Howell of Picayune and have two daughters, Chanda and Lauren. My family and I are active members of West Union Baptist Church.

In addition to my 35 years of experience, my qualifications for this position include a proven record of effective law enforcement, unanimous election as Chairman of the MS Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, numerous professional recognitions on local, state, federal and international levels. I have initiated a variety of innovative programs in my role as law enforcement administrator including: Campus Security Council, Teen 411 and D.A.R.E. program in the Picayune Schools. I have been instrumental in the establishment of week-long summer caps for the youth of Pearl River County, institution of the first county-wide Crime Stoppers phone line in Pearl River County, and establishment of the Picayune’s Retired, Organized, United and Dedicated program. I also led the Picayune Police Department to become one of three municipal departments in the state to receive national and state accreditation.

I bring to the office of sheriff a vision for a county that will have partnership, pride and progress. Inviting the citizens of Pearl River County to take an active role in the policing of their communities will create a partnership between the community and the Sheriff’s Department. I envision sheriff substations in areas where crime is rooted to allow residents of those communities and the Sheriff’s Department to work together to stop crime. I foresee partnerships with local police departments and the Sheriff’s Office that allow cooperation across jurisdictions, instead of competition. I visualize a county where the citizens take pride in their community and their law enforcement officers. Finally, I envision a county where progress is made toward stopping crime in every corner of the county.

As sheriff, I will utilize my established contacts with community, local, state, regional and federal law enforcement agencies to assist in our countywide war on drugs. Together, we will send a strong message to drug traffickers and dealers that Pearl River County will not tolerate drugs. The Blue Line that has been drawn around the city of Picayune will be expanded to surround the entire county. We will put criminals on notice: If you cross the blue line into Pearl River County to deal drugs or commit violent crimes; you will be caught and prosecuted. If we do not bring the countywide drug problem under control now, we can’t be safe. I have proven that I know how to fight drugs in our schools and the city of Picayune. I ask you to let me expand that fight to protect this county.

I humbly request that you give me the opportunity to bring my proven and effective law enforcement training and experience to the entirety of Pearl River County by electing me as your next sheriff. I pledge to bring an unprecedented level of cooperation between the local and county law enforcement of our communities, allowing departments to become more effective at preventing crime. I ask you to consider the times we live in, the changes in our county and the changes to come. Pearl River County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, and that growth is and will bring new challenges and problems. Now is not the time to take chances with the security of our communities. For the future of our children and our county, I ask that you allow me to bring my proven and effective abilities as a law enforcer and administrator to the office of sheriff. I invite you to visit my website for more information on my qualifications, background and achievements.