Recruitment efforts in full swing for West Point Police Department

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – There is a critical need for people who provide critical services. Firefighters, police officers, and even 911 dispatchers are stretched thin. Chief Avery Cook of the West Point Police Department said that it’s been a challenge to recruit and retain officers.

Currently, over half of his department is made up of new faces, and he has to use new methods to attract more to the force.

Local law enforcement does what they can to help the people that need them in all types of situations.

Work never really ends for first responders, and that work is harder when there are fewer people available to manage the load. Cook said in the five years he’s been chief a lot has changed.

“Over the last year, two years it’s been really tough getting people to apply to have a career in law enforcement,” said Cook.

Cook said most of his staff now is new, but why?

“Sometimes it’s money and the stigma that surrounds law enforcement,” said Cook.

Joseph Redmond is a new officer at the police department. He worked as a correctional officer with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for a year but felt it was time for a change.

“I know that they needed officers and it was a career change that I was looking to do, get on patrol and help the citizens of West Point,” said Redmond.

Redmond said his decision to become an officer wasn’t for the payor authority role.

“They have great community relations they tend to lean more toward helping the community and being in the public’s eye instead of just the enforcement side of things,” said Redmond.

Recruiting is a continuous job for Cook and he’s having to adapt his methods.

“The old way of going out and recruiting you know we have to change that we had to not necessarily lower the standards but some things that you could bend on or change we try to change that and adapt to the younger generation and newer generation,” said Cook.

Cook encouraged anyone who dreams of being a first responder to follow that dream, and if that interest is in law enforcement, give his office a call.

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