HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree swore in two lateral officers to the Hattiesburg Police Department Tuesday morning.
Shikira Burt and Brian Gray were both sworn in as lateral officers who have previously served in law enforcement. Burt joins HPD from the Columbia Police Department, where she served approximately six months. Lt. Jon Traxler said she trained at Southern Regional Police Academy at Camp Shelby.
Gray comes to HPD from the Jefferson Davis Sheriff's Department, where he served as deputy for approximately two years. Traxler said Gray trained at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy (MLEOTA) in Jackson.
Traxler said the addition of these officers puts HPD's total number at 102, from the chief on down. That number includes four officers on military leave and one who is injured. HPD is still below their maximum capacity of 140 officers. Traxler said there is an academy taking place now with 20 candidates participating. That academy started this week and will take 17 weeks to complete.
"We're always looking to have an academy," said Traxler on future training to boost HPD staff numbers. "Procedures have to be done and followed so that everything is done properly."