LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The Long Beach Police Department is currently operating at 13% below capacity.
Due to retirements and a pair of officers moving into school resource officer roles, Chief Billy Seal is looking to hire at least five new officers.
Until the new recruits come in, the 32 officers on staff are left working long hours. "It's a stress on officers and burnout with them having to work extra hours to cover the shifts due to being shorthanded," Seal said.
Long Beach is actively recruiting officers and accepting applications. Seal said despite the city offering a competitive salary and benefits package it isn't easy finding people who want to make the sacrifices required to protect and to serve.
"The interest in people wanting to get into law enforcement has dwindled," said Seal. "When I started 24 years ago there was 65-70 people that were in the application process and now the last time we gave the written exam we had six people."
Lt. Patrick Craig is leading the recruiting effort. According to Craig a big incentive to work in Long Beach is the department provides guaranteed step pay raises and when fully staffed he sees opportunities for advancement.
"If we can get fully staffed we can actually fill all of our positions that we have open like criminal investigations or narcotics," Craig said. "You want to be able to fill all these specialty positions that also give opportunities to other officers."
The police department may be shorthanded, but a new recruit should still be the right fit. "You want somebody that has good common sense and they understand the step that they're trying to take in their career," Craig Said.
"It's something where you have to be able to want this job, it's a calling," said Seal.
Long Beach will accept lateral police applicants.
For more information on the application process: https://www.cityoflongbeachms.info/copy-of-civil-service