December 18, 2023

John Elfer recognized for 25 years with Warren County

Vicksburg Daily News

John Elfer is recognized by the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Ced Tillman

Emergency Management Executive Director John Elfer was recognized for 25 years of service to Warren County.

Born in Fayetteville Georgia, Elfer attended McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, Georgia. He studied law enforcement at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also worked and got a commission in the Army military police Corps in 1995. In 1995 he also joined the Hattiesburg Police Department. In 1998 he got married and moved to Warren County, accepting a position with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

“The people are good people but to be honest I liked the…we started duck hunting. I kind of fell in love with Warren County because of duck hunting,” said Elfer. “I had been here in the early 90s and thought it would be a neat place to live. Lot of history here.”

On December 7, 1998, Elfer took the position of Executive Director of Warren County Emergency Management Agency. The EMA does a little bit of everything according to Elfer. “Basically, in a nutshell, we manage different events and emergencies and we make sure that all the response agencies involved have all the resources that they need. We’re a resource manager, it’s really what we do.”

Rolling Fork

Elfer and his team were some of the first people on the ground when a killer tornado ripped through Rolling Fork on Friday night, March 24 of this year. He was part of the leadership that organized the hundreds of people and agencies from around the state that did the recovery and response to that tornado. “We helped out in Rolling Fork and we continue to help out in Rolling Fork,” said Elfer.

rolling fork
Elfer organizing teams in Rolling Fork. The photo by David Day is blurry because Elfer didn’t stop moving.

In addition to those duties, Elfer and his team offer public education for different disaster scenarios, weather, man-made disasters, and natural disasters. “We do a lot of outreach programs like active shooter training and events like that. We work with all the agencies, public or private,” explained Elfer.

The EMA team has six members, including Elfer, who do all the above, plus ordinance enforcement in the county, building permits, 911 addressing, and most recently, they’ve added road patrol.

Elfer bragged, “I’ve got the best people you could ever ask to work with. We’ve got a really good team and everybody works well together. A lot of smart people.”

In addition to all that, Elfer added, “We also keep the media informed. It allows our message to get out to a lot of people in a very timely manner. We also do a lot of disaster recovery operations, specifically assisting families that have been impacted by disasters. It doesn’t have to just be in our community either.”

Elfer concluded with, “When people are affected by a natural disaster or they have a house fire then we network with our other partners to try and assist those folks.”

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