“Blue Flu” running through CPD after 5 officers call in sick

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Five out of seven police officers called in sick today for their shift, leaving the city of Columbus without a full patrol force.

This is an attention grabbing move according to one source, because these officers feel mis-treated within the department.

Five officers with Columbus Police Department called work to say they weren’t coming in..

Those same officers who did not show up for work are among the officers who went to Mayor Keith Gaskin about a month ago about what they say are issues within the department, and it doesn’t deal with the pay.

“Some of the officers have told me that it’s not about that it’s about work environment the ability to move up the ladder to feel like they’re in a job where they feel like they can increase their role of leadership within the department,” said mayor Keith Gaskin.

Gaskin said he felt that those officers will be back on duty Saturday. When officers call out in that capacity, the mayor said it not only raises safety concerns with citizens; it also effects those officers that have to pull the extra weight.

“I’ve tried to get that message out to officers that if you’re not really sick let’s come on back into work and make sure we’re doing what we need to do for our citizens,” said Gaskin.

The officers who called in sick make up more than 70% of the shift; although they didn’t show, Chief Fred Shelton said he and his team had a plan.

“Three of my command staff we came in this morning we called in officers that were off duty so currently we have seven officers working the city of Columbus which is normally what we would have during the day shift then later this evening the assistant chief is coming in,” said Shelton.

Shelton said he understands that he doesn’t appeal to everyone, but at the end of the day he has to do his job and wants those on his staff to do the same; no matter what.

“One of the things I learned early on in this job is the QTIP principle (Quit Taking It Personal) so again every leader is going to have challenges, everybody isn’t going to like every leader; however at the end of the day our mission is to protect and serve this community,” said Shelton.

Chief Shelton and Mayor Gaskin encourage each of those officers to find other ways to express themselves. Calling out sick when you’re not only makes the job even more difficult for everyone else.

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