Hattiesburg Police Department lacking man-power

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department is under staffed by 40 officers.

The max capacity is 140, and  last year they lost 29 officers.

However, this is not a new problem for HPD. In 2011, HPD had a total of 121 officers. Four months later in January of 2012, the numbers dropped to 105.

HPD has a total of 100 officers, four of those are on military leave, one out on injury, and another will resign this week. The new total will be 94. This number includes every position from the chief on down.

One source tells us that between four and six of those officers were the only ones on the streets this past Monday night.

In comparison to Laurel, which is less than half the size of Hattiesburg, there are anywhere from nine to 12 on patrol for a night shift.

The patrol size for Laurel is smaller than HPD with 55 total officers, and are only five short of capacity.

Gulfport, which is slightly larger than Hattiesburg, has a total of 152 officers with 38 officers on night patrol. Tupelo, which is also smaller than Hattiesburg, has 106 sworn officers with 12 on the evening shift.

Lt. Jon Traxler said 11 officers were scheduled to work Monday night, a shift he said was comprised of not only patrolmen, but a captain, lieutenant, sergeant, a DUI officer, and members of the special ops team available for patrol duties.

Our reporters tried to contact HPD to get their reactions to these numbers, but Assistant Chief Hardy Sims told our reporters that he is not the PIO Officer and could not give any further information.

The PIO Officer, Lt. Jon Traxler, who is out of town this week, told our reporters that he does plan to have another recruit academy at some point this year.

The mayor has not yet returned from a conference in Oklahoma from earlier this week, and was unable to comment at this time.

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