ACLU Demand Has DeSoto Leaders Concerned

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Hernando, MS) The request came as a shock to DeSoto Sheriff Bill Rasco and County leaders.

The National ACLU seems to want the entire SWAT handbook and all records on what the SWAT team’s ever done, and what it uses to do its job.

The letter from the American Civil Liberties Union hit the desk of DeSoto Sheriff Bill Rasco late last week, wanting WAY more information that he wanted to give out.

He says he’ll comply with the request on HIS terms ”We’re providing them with all the information we feel like that we can give them at this time."

The ACLU wants to know just about everything there is to know about the DeSoto SWAT team, including what equipment they use, how much of it is military surplus, how it conducts its operations, and what’s happened in all it’s cases.

DeSoto County wasn’t the only agency to get the request.

The ACLU wants information from SWAT teams in 23 states, but DeSoto County’s team is the only one in  Mississippi in which the group is interested.

DeSoto Supervisors say they’re as concerned as the Sheriff, because releasing such closely-held information could endanger the lives of the public and especially the SWAT team members.

”I don’t think they need to know what the Sheriff’s business is. I think he needs to keep everything secret and under the radar” said Supervisor Harvey Lee.

DeSoto leaders argue, if bad guys know the SWAT tactics and their capabilities, it could give them an unfair advantage.

”some of the things that concerns us are about getting out information that shows how we do our tactics and I don’t think that’s public information” said Rasco.

The County has seven days to respond to the request. Supervisors authorized the County Attorney to seek guidance from Attorney General Jim Hood before taking any action.