Sheriff gives Racial profile Report to court; New indigent option arrives in 2019

By BOB PALMER, Jimplecute Editor

According to Marion County Sheriff David McKnight’s figures, if his department stopped you in 2017, you were likely a Caucasian male breaking the law with your vehicle on a county road.

McKnight told county commissioners the report was much the same as in past years. In 2019, however, a new “indigent” option kicks in.

“People will the option to declare indingency next year,” McKnight said.

“Does that mean if person is indigent, that gives him an option to not pay the fine?” Commissioner Charlie Treadwell asked.

McKnight deferred to Justice of the Peace Lena Pope.

“That’s right,” Pope said.

Commissioners paused to scratch their heads.

“You will have to hire another deputy just to verify if they are actually indigent,” Commissioner Joe McKnight said to the sheriff.

The 2017 report showed the MCSO made 303 traffic stops.

Males comprised 209 of the drivers.

Caucasians made up 233 of the people stopped, 56 were of African extraction, two were Asian, four were Hispanic, eight were Middle Eastern and none were Native American.

Officers say they knew the race of the person prior to the stop in only 28 of the cases.

Thirty-two searches were made. In 271 of the stops, no search was made.

Consent was given in 20 of the cases.

In 10 of the cases, an arrest was made.

In 280 stops, a written warning or citation was issued.

Officers found illegal drugs in 10 stops, weapons in two stops and stolen property in six stops.

Constable David Capps and District Attorney Angie Smoak also submitted reports indicating they seldom or never performed traffic stops.

In other action, commissioners approved translated version of previously approved a Citizen Participation Plan as well as Section 504 Policy and the county’s Grievance Procedures.




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