February 18, 2013 Rotogram: 30

Insurance in Mississippi

MSU Alumnus Mike Chaney will address issues dealt with by the Mississippi Insurance Department where he is serving his second term as commissioner.

Next Week: MSU Business College

Sharon Lyon Oswald, dean, reports on the Mississippi State University College of Business and its nearly 2,500 students.

For the Record—February 11

Invocation and Pledge:       Terry Kemp

Attendance:                                   55.46%

Present — 98 (32 exempt)

Absent — 77 (13 exempt, 11 honorary)

Guests: Guests of members were Anna Dodd of Scott Dodd, Jennifer Gregory of Steve Langston, John Rigdon of Pat Lane, Michael McAnallly of Don Lasell and Peter Enfinger of Prentiss Gordon. Guest of the Club was Giulia Martinoli, RYE student.

Rotary Classic Rodeo Sets Records

Our seventh annual rodeo on February 8 and 9 set records in attendance and fund raising. Co-chair Trey Breckenridge reported that at least 6,500 people attended over the two nights. Final returns will be reported after all accounts are balanced.

President Debra called out the 54 Rotarians and family/friends who filled the 35 volunteer slots each night.

Membership actions

John Rigdon, Bancorp South senior vice president has been proposed for membership by Pat Lane. His classification is Banking / Commercial Lending.

The board has named Bill Bost and Sammy Smith as Honorary Life Members.

The board accepted with regret the resignation of Buddy Staggers.

Meeting Notes

  • President Debra gave kudos to several Rotarians recognized at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership banquet: Martin Jue, Oktibbeha County Industry of the Year; Melissa Dixon, Crystal Pineapple Tourism Award; Pat Lane, Ambassador of the Year; Sammy Smith, Mainstreet Award; and, Sammy Slaughter, R. Clay Simmons Exemplary Enterprise Award.
  • Marcus Grant with Renasant Bank was welcomed to his first meeting as a Rotarian.

Draft Billing Incentive Deadline

Until Feb. 28, the board is offering a $50 credit to your Paul Harris account if you sign up for bank draft for your quarterly bill. It’s a benefit for you and helps the Club run more smoothly.

Reading Schedule

  • 2/19  Brent Fountain, Emerson Family Resource Center at 11:00 a.m.
  • 02/21, 9:30 a.m. Sarah Fratesi, First Presbyterian, and Brad Jones, Brickfire

Next week:

  • 02/26  Carrie Beth Randall
  • 02/28  Melissa Dixon and Andy Gaston

See the statewide news feature Rotary partnerships help early childhood literacy at:

Starkville Benefits From Highly Professional Security

February 11 — Starkville enjoys a relatively low crime rate with a police department that can boast a high rate of crime solutions.

Starkville Police Chief David Lindley profiled his department and its accomplishments saying, “Fortunately, we don’t have much violent crime. We don’t have robberies like our sister city down 82. We don’t have homicides to any great degree like our capital city. We don’t have a great deal of serious narcotics like another of our sister cities. Basically what we have is traffic and alcohol.”

Lindley, chief since 2001, said, “We are a university town and it’s always interesting. Our biggest challenge is youthful offenders aged 18 to 22 who over imbibe or get into mischief.”

In the past two years Starkville has led the state in driving under the influence arrests with no increase in DUI fatalities. Lindley noted that as Starkville has become more of a recreational destination, non-felonies have increased.

He detailed a decade’s difference with statistics from 2003 and 2012: Traffic tickets, 7,824 to 11,461; misdemeanors,        1,100 to 1,800; DUIs, 277 to 502; and, felonies, 243 to 241.

The most tickets (3,000) are issued for seat belt infractions since state law mandates it as a primary offense. Next are 2,070 no liability insurance infractions, and 1,600 speeding citations.

There are no unsolved homicides and not many armed robberies. Most felonies are related to auto contents theft which is a crime of opportunity with a seven year felony penalty.

The SPD solve rate is almost three times the national average.

In terms of personnel, the Starkville Police Department nearly reaches the national standard of two-and-one-half officers per 1,000 population. Under his command are 70 personnel, 55 of whom are officers. That contrasts with 20 officers in 1975.

When Johnny Cash made his famous flower picking escapade in 1965, the city had two officers with a car and a phone on Main Street.

“Columbus is about same size, but has 70 officers,” said Lindley, a 37-year SPD veteran. “But, I wouldn’t take that number if had to have their crime rate.”

The SPD has eight uniformed officers on patrol on any given day. On MSU football Saturdays, the force can surge to 30 officers.

Besides uniformed officers, the department has fulltime narcotics, detective, traffic, DUI, and community oriented policing units. Part-time assignments include bike patrol, DARE, crime scene investigation and felony investigation. There is a well-trained SWAT unit. And, there are two fulltime certified animal control officers who are not just “dog catchers.”

The SPD’s ten female officers is a higher representation than any other department in the state and above the national average. Thirty percent of the force is African American. Other representative demographic groups are American Indians and Hispanics.

In 2004, Lindley worked with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission to develop standards. By 2007, the SPD became the first force to start and complete the process. It was reaccredited in 2010.

Last year, Lindley’s unit satisfied the “gold standard” national requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. It fulfilled more than 200 absolute standards based on records and outside observations.

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