HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A focus on recruitment has the Hattiesburg Police Department optimistic that over two dozen vacancies will be filled with the next Training Academy class.
The City of Hattiesburg announced the department's plans for the Training Academy's "legacy" class in October. At that time, Mayor Toby Barker said building a strong foundation in the Hub City was key.
"We know that we need more manpower and capacity, and so we do that through lateral transfers," Barker said. "But, the biggest thing we have is the ability to grow a recruit class that can be Hattiesburg police officers for decades to come."
"Training is the foundation of any good department. Good, quality training," said Assistant Director of Police Training Chris Johnson.
Johnson said as of Friday, the academy received 179 applications for the new class. He said he hoped to get past 200 by the deadline, which is Tuesday, January 16th.
"With the number of 150, 160, 180, that's kind of average of what we have been getting in past years," said Johnson. "But once we get the 200 mark, 220, those outlets seem to be doing us well, doing us justice."
Johnson said applicants will have to pass a Civil Service Exam and then move to physical and mental evaluations, different training and more. From a pool of 200, he'd expect to be able to fill the vacancies currently in the department.
"We're looking for good, quality applicants with good qualifications," said Johnson. "Someone that has the desire, the intestinal fortitude, the integrity, the loyalty and the inner strengths to become a police officer for the City of Hattiesburg, because we are here to serve the citizens of Hattiesburg."
The starting salary for a Hattiesburg Police Officer is between $35,000 and $38,000 a year, depending on the trainee's education. Recruits in the Academy will receive a salary of $25,000 a year. The salary will be adjusted upon graduation from the academy.
The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 16th. Upon application, individuals will be scheduled to take a Civil Service Exam on Saturday, January 20th.
The Hattiesburg Fire Department is also hiring, for information on that process click here.