Moss Point Chief Wants To Hire Out-Of-Town Officers

Terry Clausell says his audio and music store on Elvira Grandison Road was once a target for criminals. But he credits increased patrols by Moss Point Police officers for making the would-be thieves think twice.

Lately, Chief Demetrius Drakeford says police have been working overtime to protect the community. That's because the department is short ten officers.

"We've got about five applicants to test. And out of the five, maybe three have passed the test. And out of that, two have passed the physical, which knocks us down to several vacancies,"     Chief Drakeford said.

Drakeford wants to broaden his search, but right now he's limited to only those who live in Jackson County.

"The policy has been in existence for a decade. It was at one time employees had to live in city limits, and the policy was subsequently adjusted," Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop said.

Chief Drakeford is calling for a new adjustment, so he can consider people who live within 50 miles of Jackson County.

"Westward of us, a little outside of Long Beach, and I would like to keep our employees in the state of Mississippi."

On the other hand, some critics say changing this policy will make it harder for local people to get law enforcement jobs, as well as other city positions.

Mayor Xavier Bishop says everyone who wants to work for the City of Moss Point will get a fair chance.

"I am interested in getting the most qualified people for the job, and if they live in the City of Moss Point or outside the boundaries, that should not matter," Bishop said.

Drakeford will present his suggestions to the Board of Alderman at next week's meeting.

Mayor Xavier Bishop says out of 150 city employees, four of them do not live in the city. City officials have sent letters to those people giving them 10 days to move into the county or they have to meet with the Board of Alderman to present their case.

The next Board of Alderman meeting will be on Tuesday, May 1st.