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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Overall, Oktibbeha County Sheriff Dolph Bryan said his department had a successful year with relatively low crime.
â€śIn comparison to some other years, itâ€™s been a fairly mild year. Itâ€™s not really a high crime area, and people that live around here are lucky,â€ť he said. â€śIt was a good year. We had a couple high-profile cases that, so far, weâ€™ve been successful with.â€ť
Bryan declined to comment on the nature of the cases the investigations department is working on as the grand jury and circuit court term approaches.
Earlier this year, the investigations department successfully built a case against Verina Childs for the murder of her husband, Doug, in Nov. 2009. Childs allegedly shot her husband in the back while they were out hunting, and a witness said he saw someone matching her description leaving the wooded area shortly after he heard the gunshot. Childs was convicted in August and was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Lee Howard.
â€śThat was one of the fastest prosecutions on a murder that Iâ€™ve seen in a long time,â€ť Bryan said, crediting his teamâ€™s hard work.
In February, the sheriffâ€™s department converted 14 of its cars and SUVs from gasoline to propane fuel, a move Bryan said was necessary. Propane vehicles cost 30 percent less per gallon on average and emit nearly 90 percent less smog-producing hydrocarbons than gasoline. The conversion was made possible by a grant from the federal government, along with funds from Mississippi State University, the Starkville city government and a federal rebate.
â€śThatâ€™s really been a good service for us. If I could convert my wifeâ€™s car to it, I would,â€ť Bryan said. â€śIt really burns well and you get good performance out of it. Iâ€™m well pleased with it.â€ť
The new year will bring some changes to the department as Bryan ends his 36-year career as sheriff and Steve Gladney takes over as his successor. Although he was disappointed with losing the election, Bryan said 2011 was a good note to end this chapter of his career on.