Officers Staying On The Job In Ocean Springs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/06/04

Officers Staying On The Job In Ocean Springs

During the years of low police pay and huge turnover in the department, patrol officer Jason Krohn stuck it out. He says he felt loyalty to the department that gave him his start in law enforcement in 1999.

"The chief's told me numerous times 'moss doesn't grow on a rolling stone'. Staying here, the pay's gotten better, equipment's gotten much better, overall attitudes towards the police department from the city has gotten much better," says Krohn.

The chief says things got better after several meetings with the city aldermen.

"Talked them into a comprehensive plan on paying people that would bring them up at least on some type of equitable factor with the rest of the agencies around the coast," says Chief Kerry Belk.

"We still have people leaving but they're generally leaving for better paying jobs... career moves."

The starting pay didn't change much, $23,000 a year for a starting patrol officer with no experience. But officers can work their way up to $29,000.

"You can go from there and meet all the criteria, do the work you need to do. You can go from there to patrolman 3rd class, patrolman 2nd class and patrolman first class, each step being incrementally more in money."

Krohn says he and others who stayed have been rewarded with promotions.

"I recently got promoted to detective and I felt that was because I stayed and toughed things out and got rewarded for that."

Chief Belk says he would like to have a few more officers to add to his force of 36, but at least they're staying on the job in Ocean Springs instead of somewhere else.

byMarcia Hill

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