An exterior wall of the Harrison County jail is dilapidated.
That should get your attention.
We can't imagine a more pressing need in the county than keeping the jailhouse walls from falling down.
"It's a huge expenditure to the Board (of Supervisors)," Sheriff Troy Peterson said. And it's a huge public safety issue, which the board has to find the money to fix.
That's just one of several problems Peterson found after he became sheriff in January.
"It wasn't all rainbow and butterflies," he told the Sun Herald during an interview this week about the challenges he faces as sheriff. "We had things in the jail that should have been fixed for public safety issues."
Many of the poles on the perimeter fence, the last line of defense at the jail, had rusted. A mild storm blew down a section of that fence, which required emergency repairs.
There are surveillance cameras inside and outside the jail that need to be either replaced or moved. They help keep the jail secure and they protect the Sheriff's Office against litigation.
The cameras are expensive, too. But the board has to find the money to get that job done because the alternative -- an unsafe jail -- likely will be more costly.
The sheriff also deserves more money for the men and women who work for him. As it is, the Sheriff's Office pays several thousand dollars to train its personnel, only to have them leave for higher-paying jobs in Gulfport and Biloxi. A 6.5 percent raise would make the Sheriff's Office competitive.
"I want it done now," Peterson said.
We do, too.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists, and cartoonists are their own.