Jackson city councilman fears delay in issuing premium pay could lead to bigger issues for police department

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 10:22 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson has yet to administer premium pay to veteran first responders.

The city council set more than $5 million in federal funds aside in September to increase salaries for some police and firefighters in the city, but those actions have been delayed because the mayor’s administration hasn’t allocated that money, according to Ward 6 Councilman and finance committee chair Aaron Banks.

The city brought on a consultant to help administer the premium pay funds a couple of weeks ago, but it’s unclear when police and firefighters will actually receive that money.

Banks fears the Jackson Police Department will continue struggling to retain officers if the administration doesn’t act soon.

“Anytime that we’re losing detectives at the rate that we’re losing, it shows that there are some problems,” Banks said. “One of the things that has to happen immediately is that the administration needs to go ahead and enact what the council voted on unanimously during budget season.”

With 126 homicides so far this year, Banks questions how much longer the remaining detectives will stick around if they have to continue waiting for the pay boost.

”All you’re going to do is tax the other detectives that are left,” Banks said. “If they had a 27 caseload, now they’re going to have 35, 40 caseload. That causes stress and mental anxiety, and we have to be concerned about that because that job demands a lot.”

Banks added that what you value is what you compensate and said the city needs to prioritize that.

“Take it from someone who has some law enforcement experience - it demands a lot” he said. “If we’re going to have that type of pressure, we have to at least compensate them for what we see them in value.”

Banks feels the number one deterrent to crime is visibility.

“We can’t afford to have the bleeding that we’re having within the top law enforcement in this city, which is the Jackson Police Department,” he said.

According to Chief James Davis, the department will graduate another class of officers next week.

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