Desoto County News

Farish recognized for helping catch ex-police officer

Photo: From left, District Attorney Matthew Barton, MBI Capt. Heath Farish, and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell (Bob Bakken/  

A captain with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) has been recognized by the DeSoto County District Attorney’s office for helping capture a former Southaven Police officer.  

The DA’s office gave MBI Capt. Heath Farish its Behind the Badge Award with Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell present Wednesday morning in Hernando.  

Farish is the Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) for the Batesville office of the MBI. The award was started by District Attorney Matthew Barton to recognize law enforcement officers for extraordinary efforts fighting crime in DeSoto County.  

Tony Herring Jr. (DeSoto County Jail photo)

In presenting the award, Barton specifically mentioned Farish’s role in the indictment and capture of former officer Tony Herring, Jr., arrested in April on charges of conspiracy and felony auto theft while an officer. The arrest and secret indictment against Herring was the first indictment from Barton’s new Public Corruption Unit, which he credited for helping make the arrest quickly and under wraps until the arrest took place.    

“While he (Herring) was on the job, he was giving thieves information about where police were and where they might get away with things,” Barton said. “We wanted to do a secret indictment for him and we wanted to get after him quickly and safely, so we reached out to Captain Farish.”

Barton said Farish put together a plan and Herring was arrested quickly after investigators put the paperwork to the grand jury. The arrest, Barton said, came before the grand jury had even left.  

Tindell said he was pleased to see MBI agents recognized in this way.  

“I think it says a lot about where we’re going with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation,” Tindell said. 

Barton added his office turned to Farish due to the circumstances of trying to arrest a police officer. 

“Southaven Police had promptly removed him prior to this,” Barton said. “They built up a file, gave it to us and we thought it was worthy of an indictment. But we knew that these were special circumstances and it would be a priority arrest for us in terms of making sure it was safe. So that’s why we turned to Captain Farish to help us.”

“It was very important to us to know that with the training that this gentleman had in SWAT and also law enforcement tactics, that we keep this under wraps and quiet,” Farish said. “One of the biggest fears of a law enforcement officer is that he doesn’t want to go to jail. When you’re a law enforcement officer, you’d be going there with other people.”

Barton said Herring is still being investigated about other crimes, including officer-involved shootings related to other auto thefts. Herring is currently out on bond and awaiting trial in this particular case.  

Tindell said he was glad to see law enforcement officers being recognized as Farish was on Wednesday.  

“99 percent of them do a great job each and every day and do it for the right reasons,” Tindell said. “I think when those that do a good job, we can recognize them for that, and I think it’s very appropriate.”