Pay raise for Vicksburg police?

Published 9:00 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Vicksburg Police Department’s uniform patrol officers could be getting a bump in pay in January.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Wednesday he intends to present a pay raise package increasing the patrolmen’s base pay by 50 cents an hour — from $13.65 an hour to $14.15 an hour — to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its first meeting in November.

Flaggs said raising the base pay by 50 cents an hour will cost the city about $49,000. “It will not cover the whole year, because this will only start in January, but it’s necessary that we go forward now, because Chief (Milton) Moore convinced me that he needs to be able to advertise because they (officers) can only be able to go to the academy twice a year.”

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If approved, the raise will go into effect Jan. 3 but will not include sergeants, lieutenants and captains in patrol.

Flaggs said the proposal is the result of a meeting with Moore, deputy chiefs Bobby Stewart and Eric Paymon, and patrol commander Penny Jones, in which Moore told him the department has a manpower shortage.

He brought to our attention that we were facing some critical times in the police department in terms of patrol and in terms of the number of police officers we have available to us,” Flaggs said, adding 17 officers have left the department since January 2016.

According to information from the police department, there are presently 61 officers and three chiefs in the department, which is budgeted for a maximum of 81 officers. The department now has five officers at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy at Pearl.

Moore, Flaggs said, told him the $13.65 per hour base pay is not attracting enough people to apply to the department. He said Moore plans to go before the city’s Civil Service Board in November and ask for approval to advertise for applications.

Deputy police chief Bobby Stewart said Thursday the department expects to take applications and begin testing for entry-level officers after the first of the year.

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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