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Moss Point approves police pay raise, hoping to attract new applicants

The police department is budgeted for 29 officers. Five are leaving this month alone. Others have resigned already this year.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - Moss Point Police Department is losing more officers, but city officials are hoping pay incentives approved during Tuesday night’s alderman meeting will help retain current officers and fill vacant positions.

The police department is budgeted for 29 officers. Five are leaving this month alone. Others have resigned already this year.

That leaves the department with fewer officers available for patrol.

”It’s not just public safety for the community, it’s public safety for the officers themselves,” said Mayor Billy E. Knight, Sr.

He sent an e-mail this week addressing concerns by Police Chief Brandon Ashley.

At the top of that list is officer pay.

”My officers didn’t get a raise last year. They didn’t get an approved step raise,” said Chief Ashley. “This profession is very competitive, and the hiring pool is dwindling. You may test and get one or two applicants show up, then you have to do backgrounds and that could exclude one of them, and then the written test could exclude the other. So, you have to start over again. I felt it’s time to try and retain what I have and try to recruit some certified officers.”

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, members approved pay raises to incentivize potential candidates and keep current officers around.

Effective July, the department will get a $2 raise across the board for all certified officers.

Part time officers will also see a pay bump from$20 an hour to $25.

Chief Ashley also hopes this will help him hire officers at a hire rate.

In the mean time, Mayor Knight is meeting with officers to find out what else the city can do to keep them around.

”You gotta stay on top of it to stop all the turnover going on over and over again. You can’t be effective that way. One way you do it is pay people fairly. Treat them fairly and give them what they need to do their job and get out of the way to let them do their job. That’s what my philosophy is,” Mayor Knight said.

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