An assistant chief says the police department in Mississippi’s largest city is short-staffed, and recruitment and retention are big challenges.
Joseph Wade of Jackson Police Department discussed staffing levels Monday during the Jackson City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting, WLBT-TV reported.
He said JPD is budgeted for 356 sworn officers but has 258. On the civilian side, JPD is budgeted for 199 employees and has 132.
“I went to a leadership class in Ohio, and guess what? They’re having (retention issues),” he said. “It’s not a popular job right now.”
JPD loses officers to smaller departments, where officers can earn comparable salaries but answer fewer calls, Wade said. He said the city needs to enforce a state law that would require departments to reimburse JPD for training costs of any officer it hires who has been with Jackson less than three years.
Wade said JPD leaders appreciate the premium pay that the Jackson City Council approved for police department employees earlier this year. The assistant chief also suggested a signing bonus and a tuition reimbursement program for new officers.
Capitol police officers, who work for the state Department of Public Safety, also patrol in parts of Jackson where state government buildings are located.
Jackson has a population of about 153,700, according to the Census Bureau. That is down from about 173,500 in 2010.