By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – A security guard working a birthday party at the Grand Palace Sunday morning allegedly stared down the barrel of a gun from a irate party goer, prompting a 911 call for help.
Sheriff Lance Humphreys said the security guard actually called 911 three times during the 10-minute response time for the first deputy on the scene.
The deputy waited for backup, which included two additional deputies and a Coffeeville police officer, to assist in what Humphreys described a hostile environment–both from the owners of the club and the patrons inside.
“We told them to shut it down for the night,” Humphreys said. By then it was almost 2 a.m., just an hour before the 3 a.m. close time advertised in flyer for the birthday bash for Chris Lykes. The flyer also showed a $10 admission.
Humphreys said the security guard told deputies that he recognized rival gang members from Batesville at the party.
“He thanked us for shutting it down, he felt somebody could be injured or killed,” Humphreys added.
Manpower an issue
Last month the sheriff’s department coordinated a special traffic detail with help from Yalobusha constables and the Mississippi Highway Patrol after numerous complaints came about a well-advertised party sponsored by All Around Hustla Entertainment featuring women wearing few clothes at the same establishment.
Officers wrote eight D.U.I.s and numerous traffic tickets during that operation. The drawback, identified by the sheriff, is the operation took 17 law enforcement officers, a show of force that is not always available.
“Many of the patrons come to the Grand Palace after clubs in neighboring counties are closing,” Humphreys explained.
This means deputies end up working extra hours because they are scheduled to go home at 2 a.m. on weekends. From 2 to 5 a.m., deputies are on call and if they have to come out, it is overtime.
Humphreys explained that the overtime is compensated with comp time, per the county’s policy. This means deputies have accumulated hundreds of hours of comp time.
“We have one deputy who has accumulated 480 hours of comp time,” Humphreys explained.
“Protection for our citizens is always our first priority, but it doesn’t always make the budget look good,” the sheriff explained.
In other law enforcement activity:
• Deputies made an arrest for careless driving, improper equipment, D.U.I. first, no tag and no insurance on June 4. Humphreys said the driver was taken into custody at the intersection of County Road 35 and 166. The driver registered .372 blood-alcohol-content, more than four times the legal limit.
• Deputies took a report of tires slashed on a vehicle on County Road 95 on June 8.
“The complainant reported it was one of two women,” Humphreys said.