JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - As violent crimes continue to make headlines, there is a shortage of police officers in the Capital City.
There are currently 82 homicides on record this year.
It was a packed house Friday as the 57th Jackson Police Department recruit class marched in for graduation. 29 new officers are now joining the ranks.
Currently, the city is budgeted to have 418 officers on the street. The new recruit class will bring them up to about 350.
“Right now, that’s going to fill a lot of our vacancies in the departments, so therefore we won’t have to exhaust our overtime budget because now we got new officers on the street to help with that," said Chief James Davis.
“It allows for the relief of several officers already on the streets who are pulling double duty, often that are stretched to the limit so we need these reinforcements," added Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
Still about 70 officers short, JPD plans to hold another recruit class in the spring.
Despite the lacking ranks, the new graduates are ready to take on the challenge of keeping the Jackson community safe.
“I’m looking forward to establishing a good relationship with the community and seize the crime everywhere," said new graduate Darryan Ragsdale.