HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department announced today they are accepting applications for the 2018 "Legacy" recruit class.
That class will be led by retiring Assistant Chief Frank Misenhelter, who has been with the department since 1994.
"The foundation of our police department starts at the academy," Misenhelter said. "For everyone that came before us, this is an opportunity to do things the right way, to select the right people and to be put in charge of that, it's a great honor."
Hub City Mayor Toby Barker said recruiting is the departments top priority.
"We know that we need more manpower and capacity, and so we do that through lateral transfers, but the biggest thing we have is the ability to grow a recruit class that can be Hattiesburg police officers for decades to come," Barker said.
The department hasn't been fully staffed in more than a decade, and numbers now are staggering in the 80s, when the department is slotted for 120.
City officials are looking to extend the recruiting lines well beyond the Hub City.
"We're going to hit the road, we're going to go out and recruit at Southern Miss other universities around the gulf south, going down to the coast, whatever we have to do to try and get our numbers up and build a class who will do policing the Hattiesburg way," Barker said. "Assistant Chief Misenhelter has such a legacy of all the positive things that he has contributed to this department and this city, and so at this moment when we need to go out and boost our numbers to have someone who is spearheading this class before his retirement is really a legacy project not only for him but the entire city."
"We're looking for character, we're looking for men and women with integrity, with honesty, we're looking for men and women who want to be heroes in their community," Misenhelter said. "So if we can produce a quality product, a quality police officer, that's what we need to do, that's what the city deserves."
Requirements to apply for the 2018 Academy include:
- Be at least 21 years of age or older.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Have a high school diploma or GED. A college degree is preferred.
- Be free of any felony or other serious criminal background.
- Reside within 10 miles of Hattiesburg city limits or relocate within six months of employment.
- Possess a valid driver’s license.
- Be a registered voter in his/her current county/city of residence.
- Be of good moral character.
The academy will run for 17-weeks, and those who pass the civil service exam will go through a rigorous background investigation and be required to meet a high standard of physical fitness requirements.
The starting salary for a Hattiesburg Police Officer is between $35,000 and $38,000 per year, depending on education level. All academy recruits will receive a salary of $25,000, and the salary will be adjusted upon graduation.
Applications can be made in person at City Hall (200 Forrest Street, Human Resources, Third Floor) or online at www.hattiesburgms.com.