Police chiefs say a tough job is getting tougher - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Police chiefs say a tough job is getting tougher

Low pay, long hours, tough working conditions and plenty of stress describe the life of many modern police officers. (Photo source: WLOX News) Low pay, long hours, tough working conditions and plenty of stress describe the life of many modern police officers. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Low pay, long hours, tough working conditions and plenty of stress describe the life of many modern police officers.

More than 100 police chiefs from across Mississippi are on the Coast to learn about aspects of the profession that are changing rapidly. One big change - those who protect and serve are always being watched.

“Now everything is being recorded. Be it by cell phone, be it by body cameras, or closed circuit TV," said Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson. "Everything is being recorded and not just being reviewed in court, but now it's being reviewed by the public."

There is danger everywhere, and it doesn't bode well for recruiting young people to join the ranks.

“This stuff is in the news daily and young folks are seeing that, and seeing that there are just better ways to have a life without having to worry about at the end of the day, 'Am I going to make it home.'” 

After a Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy was shot to death, and a Memphis police officer was fatally hit by a car, officials at the conference have a theory as to why.

“For young people, from music to the video games they are playing, if you look at everything around them, everything is kind of violent now," said Oxford Police Chief Joey East. "It takes away from the humanity side of who we are."

The lack of manpower is another concern for Lumberton Police Chief Elsie Cowart.

“We can never have enough police officers, that's one of the things that I have a personal issue with. So many agencies don't have enough officers on the streets to back up their comrades,” Elsie said.

The judicial branch of government must also help.

“We've got to make sure the laws are clear, the laws are understandable, so that the police officers on the street know exactly what they can do; what the boundaries of the job are,” Judge Kenny Griffis said. 

The only certainty is that boundaries change every day.

The police chiefs say though low pay is a problem in the profession, many new officers join the force because they just want to help fellow citizens.

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