VERONA – Police Chief Leo Mask has been on the job for only a month, but residents are already seeing more visible law enforcement activity.
Melissa Roberts has lived in Verona for a few months but said the high crime rate in the community of about 3,500 was astounding. But since Mask took over for interim Chief J.B. Long on January, Roberts said she’s seen much progress in crime-fighting efforts.
“When I first moved here I didn’t know what to expect,” said Roberts. “I heard all these stories about the crime in Verona. But at least three days a week when I watch the news I see Chief Mask has made a new arrest and that makes me feel like things are getting better around here.”
Since taking the job, Mask has arrested an accused a armed robber, an aggravated assault suspect and several burglary and drug suspects. Mask said there’s no shortage of work for him and his seven-member force.
“It’s definitely been a challenge getting out and seeing where to start first,” said Mask, the former Pontotoc County sheriff. “This is a busy town crime-wise and I plan on changing that. There is a lot of activity here, good and bad, and we want to cut out the bad.”
Mayor Bobby Williams said the board is pleased with the job Mask has done.
Growing up in a small town. Mask said his family never locked theirs doors and that’s the vision he has for Verona.
“I’ve had people to tell me that they lock their doors in the daytime because they are afraid of the criminal element,” he said. “That is not how things should be in a small town. The elderly should be able to walk and feel safe and that’s what our goal is. To make everyone that lives here feel safe, so if you’re planing on doing wrong then Verona may not be the place you want to come to.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal