Columbus Police officers may have higher salaries following Thursday’s council meeting

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Columbus city leaders will meet Thursday to discuss the city’s budget. That budget could mean some changes in the police department’s payroll and hiring search.

“All police departments would love to have a fully staffed department,” says Interim Chief Doran Johnson.

The Columbus Police Department is stretched thin with a budget set for 70 officers but a current staff of only 36.

“It sometimes requires for them to work a lot of overtime. Someone calls out sick or someone takes a vacation, then someone has to step in and make sure those shifts are manned.”

Columbus officials will meet Thursday for a budget hearing to make a decision will be made to increase officers’ pay by decreasing the full staffing level from 70 to 55. A number Interim Chief Doran Johnson says will serve the department well.

“It allows us to carry a fully staffed criminal investigation division. It allows us to fully staff our narcotics division with the county unit. Then it gives us the lead way to use some officers to extend out and do some community things -community outreach.”

Johnson believes the proposed budget will benefit recruiting, hiring, and retainment.

“We’ve raised pay on every level. So it affects everyone from entry-level to the highest ranks.”

And every level of the department needs to be filled.

“We’re recruiting new officers. We’re going to have a PT this Saturday on the 17th. We have supervisory-level positions open. We have the investigation division. Plus, we always have room for experienced officers.”

Just this week, the Columbus Civil Service Commission made it more attractive for officers from other departments to join CPD by allowing lateral moves, meaning that experienced officers will be credited for that experience, and won’t have to start from square one in Columbus.

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