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State-Run Capitol Police’s Jurisdiction Would Cover All Jackson If Bill Becomes Law

JACKSON, Miss.—The Capitol Police, run by the State of Mississippi, will have jurisdiction over all of the capital city if Mississippi Senate Bill 2343 becomes law. The legislation would grant currently all-white state officials control over policing in the 82% Black capital city of the 38% Black state. The Capitol Police would work alongside locally elected law enforcement officials.

The bill scaled another hurdle after the Senate passed it Wednesday evening in a 36-14 vote.

The Mississippi Legislature created the Capitol Complex Improvement District in 2017 to fund infrastructure projects surrounding the Capitol Building. In 2021, the Legislature created the Capitol Police force and transferred authority over the Capitol Police, which once only guarded State buildings, to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. That legislation transformed the Capitol Police into a conventional police force that covers the entire CCID.

Mississippi Senate Bill 2343 would give Capitol Police jurisdiction “relative to the enforcement of all laws of the State of Mississippi within the boundaries of the City of Jackson, Mississippi.” Photo courtesy MS DPS

City of Jackson Communications Director Melissa Payne told the Mississippi Free Press by phone on Feb. 10 that Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba “is not available for comment” on the proposed law, “so we are not going to comment right now.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said on the Mississippi Senate floor on Feb. 8 that the capitol police would “supplement” the Jackson Police Department, which the bill would require to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety by Jan. 30, 2024.

Under S.B. 2343, the Capitol Police “shall have jurisdiction relative to the enforcement of all laws of the state of Mississippi within the boundaries of the City of Jackson, Mississippi.” It requires  “the department of public safety and the city of Jackson to enter into a memorandum of understanding” by Jan. 30, 2024. “So the JDP will still get all of the primary calls; if they need assistance outside of this current CCID, this bill will allow” the Capitol Police to go beyond the CCID limits, Fillingane said

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