Law enforcement departments in metro struggle with competitive pay

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Law enforcement agencies in the metro say they’re struggling to keep up with the competitive pay and benefits Capitol Police officers are being offered.

With Capitol Police recruiting 31 new officers between May and September with higher-than-average salaries, it’s making it more difficult for other departments to find and keep officers.

“We will be launching one of the largest scale recruitment efforts this area has seen,” Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey said.

Three months after Capitol Police Chief Luckey said that, law enforcement departments in the Jackson Metro said they’re feeling those recruitment efforts in their own departments.

“We have lost a few deputies. I have spoken with other agencies within Hinds County, and they’re facing some of the same issues that we’re facing right now,” Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said.

For those in rural cities like Yazoo City, officers start out by making $13.67 per hour. Jackson Police and Hinds County Sheriff’s deputies make between $14.43 and $15. While those salaries are relatively close, Capitol Police officers start at $42,500 a year, which equals $22 per hour. As a result, agencies are losing people to the competition fast.

“If you don’t have some of the benefits and some of the pay, you will lose people, but that’s not to hold anyone necessarily responsible for taking your people from them. Can you blame someone for going somewhere where they have better benefits or better pay?” Sheriff Jones explained.

Sheriff Jones said because of the tight competition, he’s excited about opening up the conversation for raising salaries for his department, especially when he’s the highest paid sheriff, with some of the lowest paid deputies.

“Man, if I had an open checkbook, and I could do some of the things that I want to do with that open checkbook. I wish I had it because the men and women, they do a thankless job, and they should be compensated more, not only here at the highest County Sheriff’s Office, but several other agencies, as well,” Sheriff Jones said.

The Department of Public Safety said it will have 105 officers by the end of October, making it a complete force.

Sheriff Jones said now that the competition is stiffer with both officer shortages and Capitol PD paying more, he’ll be going to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors and requesting pay raises for all his deputies.

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