Harold Ray Presley
Harold Ray Presley was one of six children born to Noah Edward Presley (1890-1969) and his 2nd wife named Christine. He attended local schools, but dropped out of school in the tenth grade. In 1968 he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam in the Twenty-ninth General Support Group. After serving four years, he received an honorable discharge and returned to Tupelo.
In 1993 he was elected sheriff of Lee County. During his tenure as sheriff, Presley received numerous awards including the Buford Pusser Award and the "Best of the Best Officers" for five years.
Perceiving a need for battling both the demand and supply of illegal drugs, Mr. Presley initiated the DARE Program in local schools to educate young people, several twelve-step programs in the jail to help recovering addicts, and a tough approach to law enforcement regarding illegal drug sales and use. After earning his own GED, he provided GED classes for training and testing inmates; he also started a work-center program for the inmates in his jail.
Presley was as famous for stopping the drug trade and drug traffic in Lee County, Mississippi, as Buford Pusser was for chasing down the State Line Mob and bootleggers in McNairy County, Tennessee, in the 1960s.