JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson police officers will have to wait a bit longer to see if city council members will thank them for dealing with the long hours they’ve incurred with a one-time bonus as the department deals with a shortage of more than ninety active-duty officers.
The measure, which appeared on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular meeting, would have made a budgetary appropriation of $5,000 per rank-and-file officer from available funds within the police department’s budget.
Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes initially proposed the agenda item, but had it pulled from consideration during Tuesday’s meeting because he would not be present for the remainder of the meeting.
Stokes told 3 On Your Side in a May 5 interview that the bonus would serve as a way to thank officers for their hard work during this time of understaffing, which we exposed during a 3 On Your Side investigation last month.
How much would the one-time bonus cost taxpayers?
That depends on how many officers are working, which has been the subject of some debate among JPD Chief James Davis and city officials in recent months.
Most recently, JPD told 3 On Your Side that it had 214 active-duty officers working a beat.
Doling out that one-time bonus to those officers would cost $1,070,000.
However, an internal memo from Deputy Chief Tiny Harris, sent two days before that official information, showed a much lower number: 173, which in turn would cost only $865,000.
Davis has yet to talk to 3 On Your Side about the manpower shortages on camera, instead telling other news organizations that the department is short 78 officers.
Internal documents from Davis’ own department and deputy chief show that number is actually higher than Davis claimed: 91.
Stokes said earlier this month the funds would come from money within JPD’s budget to pay other officer positions that have not been staffed.
“Some of these officers don’t even get a day off because they’re working, working, working. They go from one call to another call because they’re working," Stokes said on May 5. “It’s up to this city to say thank you not just with our mouth but with some money.”