JPD officer numbers still down - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

JPD officer numbers still down

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

There are concerns about police protection in the capital city. Jackson police continue to operate with low numbers when it comes to officers on the streets.

The number of officers on the force continues to drop. They lost 10 officers in the last month.

There are currently has about 340 officers on patrol. They are budgeted to have 450 officers.

In the last year, the police department has launched an aggressive recruitment campaign. They're looking for new and experienced officers to apply.

Residents we talked to say they believe this directly impacts crime numbers in their neighborhoods. They tell us more officers on the streets could help curtail crime before it even happens.

The department hopes to start a recruitment class in the coming month. That is expected to bring them about 35-40 officers on the force.

Department officials say pay is one factor that often keeps them from retaining officers.

"I know we're short staffed on police in the city of Jackson.  I don't know what the answer is on that but I know that they're here to protect and serve," said Lakely Ryals, a recent victim of an auto burglary.  "I never see anyone patrolling our neighborhood. I think that's an issue."

Salaries are one reason why Jackson police have a hard time recruiting and retaining officers. Starting pay is about $27,000.00, but they can move up to $31,000.00 in the second year.

Surrounding cities have higher starting salaries.

Pearl police officers start at about $29,500.00, and Rankin County deputies start about $28,100.00. Ridgeland and Clinton also have comparable salaries.

They also offer overtime and other incentives for experience, which can earn officers more on the job.

Anyone wanting to apply with the Jackson Police Department can do so at their training facility at 3000 St. Charles Street.

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