JPD hopes to make progress with addressing staffing shortage through newest recruit class

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 10:02 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Training is underway for the Jackson Police Department’s 67th recruit class.

JPD is currently short 110 officers, which is twelve more than it was when we did a story about staffing in April.

However, the current recruit class has 19 candidates.

The group of prospects will have to make it through 56 days straight of training before officially getting sworn in.

The same goes for the four recruits with the Natchez Police Department, which has a police chief who is also a product of the JPD training academy.

“You’ve got chiefs all over the state of Mississippi who graduated from this academy: the chief of Brandon, chief of Gluckstadt, chief of Natchez, chief of McComb, chief of the airport, and our Hinds County Sheriff,” he said.

Over the course of two months, recruits will learn how to use their firearms, how to de-escalate a situation, and, of course, how to enforce the law.

“This job is constantly evolving. Every day it changes. What we try to do is prepare them for those changes, so when they do encounter a different situation, they’re prepared to handle it,” JPD’s Director of Training Alfred Cooper said.

If all nineteen JPD candidates make it through training, it’ll bring the department up to a total of 265 sworn officers. That’s 91 short of the 356 that it’s budgeted for.

Commander Michael Outland Senior said the main thing hurting JPD with recruitment and retention is that surrounding agencies are able to offer higher pay with fewer calls for service.

That’s why the department continues pushing the city for enough funding to be able to offer competitive salaries.

“If you come to Jackson, you’re going to work, but we are, in my opinion, the most elite police department in the state. You get the most training and the most knowledge here,” Outland said. “If we can get ourselves to where we are competing with other agencies, I think we will be able to address our manpower issue.”

All of JPD’s recruits will start out as patrol officers after graduating the academy.

Plans are in the works to kick off another class in October.

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