Columbia police chief speaks on officer shortage

Columbia police chief speaks on officer shortage

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Columbia Police Chief Michael Kelly said the department is continuing to recruit more officers to fill any vacancies after losing five members of the department earlier this week.

On Tuesday city officials accepted the resignation of three officers while two others were terminated, including Columbia’s assistant chief of police Rita Pickering.

Some folks living in Columbia have raised their concerns about officers suddenly leaving the department

Kelly spoke with WDAM saying the vacancies left the force short one patrolman, leaving only one shift understaffed.

The roles left vacant by the other departed officers are currently being filled by part-timers and officers within other divisions.

Kelly said the city expects to move forward with candidates during the next alderman meeting next month.

The chief added that he is considering shifting some part-time officers over to full-time status to make up for the difference.

He mentioned that the police academy is expected to graduate several prospects in the near future. Kelly said he plans to recruit from that class as well.

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