By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A new police officer in town soon will add some teeth to Tupelo’s animal control laws.
Ken Haws, formerly of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, currently is training to be Tupelo Police Department’s animal control officer. After he takes the certification class in January he can take over investigations and citations.
“He’s been through our field training program and he’s just like any other officer now, has the same powers as a patrol officer,” said Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton. “The (animal control) training will help teach him how to handle animals, how to use the tools he has – like the poles to keep from getting bit – and what it is to be cruel or inhumane.”
Haws’ main focus, in the beginning, will be vicious animals in Tupelo, looking at the laws the city has in place and making sure they are enforced.
“It’s a less confrontational situation if we have an officer on the scene dealing with an animal if that situation turns criminal,” Carleton said.
Until then he is acting as a patrol officer and acclimating to Tupelo’s streets.
Carleton said it also will be a benefit to have another officer in uniform patrolling the streets.
When not working on a specific animal control issue, Haws will act as a patrol officer and if another officer runs across an animal control or vicious animal situation, Haws will be ready to respond.