There have been 59 homicides so far in Jackson and the murder rate is on track to set a new record. This week interim Police Chief James Davis said he can't keep officers because of low pay.
The department is budgeted for 418 employees, but right now has nearly 100 job openings. That reduction in force has a direct impact on crime.
At the same meeting new Jackson Zoo leadership said it would take 1.6 million dollars to operate the zoo next year.
Here's an idea… rather than using 1.6 million, or any amount for that matter, for a product in decline, direct that money, and millions of dollars used for other non-essential services, to pay more to recruit officers, increase current officer pay and keep them on the force. Rather than having officers jump to better paying jobs in surrounding counties or private businesses, raise the pay for Jackson officers, purchase better equipment and maybe the reverse will happen.
Wouldn't it be nice to turn away qualified candidates who want to join the Jackson force? A safe city is the number one responsibility of local government. Right now, Jackson is falling short of meeting that responsibility.
The city is working on its budget for next year and that budget can include more money for law enforcement. If leaders are serious about improving the city, then dedicate more resources to keeping the people safe. 59 homicides are 59 too many… and that number will only grow… possibly setting a new record if the current situation continues.