Rookie police officers face challenges due to racial and political tension

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:33 PM CDT
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Some police departments across this country are facing recruitment problems due everything from lack of pay to racial tension.

But there are still some people signing up to protect and serve.

Two new officers about their reason for wanting to wear the badge during so much unrest.

Meet 26-year-old Michael Whitley and 33-year-old Jeremy Hooper.

The rookie officers recently joined the Vicksburg police force.

“I want to be the officer who can help and reach people,” said Hooper.

“This is where I am from and when you call 911, we are going to be the first ones there,” said Whitley.

Their decisions come at when police brutality accusations, racial issues, public mistrust, and low pay are plaguing the profession. Which has many people asking why sign up?

“You are crazy, and why did you want to do it right now? And the thing is there are always going to been the talk of not liking the police officers and not liking law enforcement, and you are just hearing it a lot more now, and you have to take the good and bad,” said Whitely.

Whitely and Hooper say they are also aware of the dangers police officers face when they hit the street-including the increase in violent acts against law enforcement.

But it is a risk they are willing to take to help protect and serve the city and give back to the community.

“I feel like I can bridge the gap between the community and officers,” said Hooper.

“You don’t do it for a paycheck, you don’t do it for any kind of gratification, you do it to help people, you do it to help people and people around you, and 90% officers are doing it for that reason.”

“I commend anyone who wants to go into law enforcement especially in the time we are living in right now,” said Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore.

Police Chief Milton Moore is pleased to have these officers on his team at a time when police recruitment is a challenge.

His advice to them is be fair, honest and focus on keeping everyone safe..

“You have to have it in your heart to come out and put your life on the line for the people your serve.”

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