Stopping crime a community affair

VERONA – Residents saw their new police chief in a different role Saturday.
Verona’s chief, Leo Mask, put down his gun and picked up his guitar and performed with his band, County Mounties, at the town’s first-ever Community Day.
Alderwoman Margaret Baker, along with Mask, Fire Chief Richard Gann, and several other organizations teamed up for the event observing National Crime Prevention and Fire Prevention Month.
Baker said she wanted to start the event as a way to give thanks to the community and to let the residents know that crime prevention starts with them.
“Verona is a great community with a lot of great people who really care about the town,” she said. “We just want everyone to take part in preventing crime and that’s what this is about. Taking pride in our community.”
With being new to the area, Mask, the former Pontotoc County sheriff, said it was important to meet residents and let them know about crime prevention.
“Solving crime is not just the police’s job, but everyone’s job,” said Mask. “I’m glad to see people come out and really support this. I like to meet the people I serve without it being in an arrest situation.”
James Ellis has seen the town improve over the past few years, said crime is still an issue and he wants to prevent it.
“Everywhere has crime but that’s no reason to accept it,” said Ellis. “We as a community need to help Mr. Mask and all our law enforcement guys if we want to have a safe place for us and our children to live.”
Even though the topic of the day was serious and heavy, the entertainment was laid back. Mask and his band played for the crowd as they danced and clapped. Kay Bain also sang a few songs.
Mayor Bobby Williams was on hand to enjoy the entertainment, food and message.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal