JACKSON – The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department teamed up with KLLM trucking company to provide a tractor trailer rig for the Mississippi Department of Corrections to use for its commercial driver’s license training program for inmates.
The Rankin Sheriff’s Criminal Interdiction Team, with the assistance of Rankin County District Attorney Bubba Bramlett, seized the 2008 International Pro-Star rig and KLLM provided a 48-foot trailer, a total package worth about $90,000, which the MDOC will use to help train inmates for careers in truck driving after their release.
Sheriff Bryan Bailey said his idea to donate the truck when he heard Commissioner Burl Cain speak about the MDOC’s commercial driver’s program. His deputies had seized the truck on Interstate 20 where Mexican drug cartels were using a secret compartment in the truck to transport drugs into Mississippi. Sheriff Bailey gained unanimous approval from the Rankin County Board of Supervisors to offer the donation.
“It doesn’t seem like much, but it is a life-changing rig,” said Sheriff Bailey, who added that “God laid it on my heart” to offer the donation. “It can affect hundreds of lives by helping these men and women get [a] commercial driver’s license.”
Commissioner Cain had secured the funds for driving simulators, but lacked a tractor trailer rig for hands on training. He was surprised and excited when told about the sheriff’s donation. All that was needed was a trailer for the truck to pull and that is where KLLM came into the picture.
Commissioner Cain and Sheriff Bailey contacted Jim Richards of KLLM Transport Services who immediately said his company would donate a trailer. Commissioner Cain and MAGCOR CEO Bradley Lum were presented the keys to the rig on Thursday, June 30.
Richards said the partnership between business and law enforcement is important in helping to make a positive difference for people eventually coming out of prison.
“It’s a way that business can interact with law enforcement to try to change people’s lives. This thing will go a lot further by changing lives, keeping them out of prison,” Richards said. “If we can continue helping people learn a skill, get them productive, get them support in their families, then whatever little piece we can play, we’d love to do that.”
Commissioner Cain said he never imagined visiting with KLLM and getting a trailer out of the deal, but he praised the company for their contribution to helping inmates. The commissioner said the tractor trailer rig will be put into use initially at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.
“They just gave us a school. We’re going to have inmates employable, less victims of violent crime; they will have jobs with they get out of prison all because of these two gentlemen,” Commissioner Cain said of Sheriff Bailey and Richards. "They’re giving this to us, to the state of Mississippi to have a school to help prisoners. That’s incredible. That’s amazing.”
Successful re-entry of inmates into the workforce through gainful employment and not returning to prison has been a priority for the Mississippi Legislature in recent years. The commercial driver’s program is one of several vocational training programs arising from legislation that expanded a pilot program started in Rankin County in 2021 to include the MDOC and other counties. Commissioner Cain had said he had to start many re-entry programs, such as the commercial driver’s program, from scratch – eventually leading to the truck donation.