MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. - The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office has seen a lot of big changes over the past year under a new administration.
First-time Sheriff Phil Sims has worked to accomplish nearly a dozen big goals over the last 365 days.
According to this WHNT News 19 article, his campaign website detailed his plan if elected Sheriff:
- Combat the drug problem and rising crime
- Proactive law enforcement
- By actively investigating elderly and child abuse crimes
- Supporting the drug task force by adding more agents, support staff, and additional funds
- Working with the county commission and local legislators to find money to add more deputies
- For each county school to have a school resource deputy, start drug prevention and awareness classes in our schools to address the drug problem in our youth and work with communities to address crime in those areas
- Work closely with all local, state, and federal agencies
- Make sure deputies and correctional officers receive continuous training required to do their jobs
- Start a K-9 patrol unit/interdiction unit within the sheriff's office
- Use inmates to clean county roads, highways, and lakeshores
- Offer citizens firearm classes to people of Marshall County as a public service
The law enforcement veteran told WHNT News 19 that many have been accomplished during his first year.
“We’ve had some new positions created and as part of that, deputies are out doing their jobs. They’re doing a great job. They’re working the roads doing traffic stops, interdiction stops, we’re doing safety checkpoints, they’re answering calls,” said Sims.
Eight deputies and several supervisor positions have been added. Two new school resource officers are set to start on January 6, 2020.
Sims said he also hopes to have a K-9 patrol and interdiction unit on board within the next three or four months.
“Our drug problem has got to be addressed. Not just form enforcement but the treatment aspect also. But when it comes to selling drugs and trafficking drugs, they need to be put in jail and stay in jail,” said Sims.
Sims said Methamphetamine is the most prevalent drug in Marshall County, while Heroin is proving to be the most dangerous.
"The majority of your crimes that’s committed in this county, just like any other county across the state, the majority is drug-related. Your thefts, your burglary, it’s all supporting their habit or trading for materials and stuff for drugs," said Sims.
Sims said he has seen violent crime go down and property crimes increase during his first year in office.
One of Sims’s biggest accomplishments has been cleaning up and taking back the jail.
“When I took office, the inmates ran the facility and what wasn’t going to happen under my administration. So, we took the jail back over. We had inmate compliance, we had new policy and procedures in place that still to this day that’s working,” said Sims.
Sims also has the inmates cleaning up Marshall County roads and parks.
The department earned the Alabama People Against a Littered State Governor’s award in November 2019.
Sims said his biggest problem is a lack of manpower.
He told WHNT News 19 that several positions were left unfilled by his predecessor.
Sims said thanks to Marshall County Commissioners re-opening those spots, they are now getting back to where they should have been a decade ago.
“The way I look at it, staffing wise, we should have been at this staffing level 10, 12 years ago. Since then we should have increased because court has increased, probate court has increased tremendously with mental transports. Those things have increased where we have not, so we have to catch up to that level,” said Sims.
Sims said he plans to make goals each year to make his office the best it can be.
I don’t want this to be the best Marshall County Sheriff’s Office it’s ever been, I want it to be the best sheriff's office in this state. We’ll continuously work towards making this office better every time, every day, every hour,” said Sims.
Sims said he plans to finish up the jail project up during 2020.
He told WHNT News 19 they will also have a new website with a most wanted feature by March 2020. He hopes to have more deputies and a K-9 patrol and interdiction unit within by Summer 2020.
Sims also plans to host an awards banquet to give his hardworking employees some recognition.
He said his goal of working closely with local law enforcement agencies, city leaders and state legislators has also been a success his first year.