Police looking for new officers

Published 9:17 am Friday, June 9, 2017

The Vicksburg Police Department is looking for a few good men and women.

The city’s Civil Service Board Wednesday approved the department’s request to hold examinations for entry level officer positions starting June 24.

“We’re putting a push in this, because we want to have the candidates ready in time for the next class at the (state law enforcement) academy, which begins Sept. 10,” Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.”

People interested in applying for the test must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or a GED or higher and pass a drug test and background check and undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

“We’re not going to give just anyone a gun and a badge,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to be very selective.”

The entry level test is in three parts: a physical agility test June 24 at the Vicksburg High School football stadium, a reading test June 28, and interview June 28. An applicant must make a grade of 70 on the test and pass the drug test, background check and psychiatric evaluation.

The chief said he is hoping to have 12 to 15 applicants, but added some of them may not make it to the academy.

“Some will not pass the background check, some won’t pass the drug test or the psych evaluation,” he said. “Others will fail the agility or written test or the interview. Right now, we have one person in the academy. We started with eight, but they fell out along the way.”

Armstrong said the police department is presently under its allotted compliment of 81 officers.

“No department is ever at full strength,” he said. “You always have some officers leaving for better paying jobs, we have officers who live out of town and want to move to a department closer to home; some go into other fields.”

And fewer people are interested in a career in law enforcement he said, pointing out when he entered the Mississippi Highway Patrol Academy, there were 3,000 applicant applying for slots.

About 400 applied for a spot in the most recent class.

“We try to offer incentives for people to apply,” Armstrong said. He said the city offers officers a bonus for college degrees and a 20 cents per hour raise in pay for officers who transfer in from other departments.

“We are trying to attract good people to come here,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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