Police chiefs meet to discuss issues all departments are facing

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - From mental health to staffing issues and the death of a fellow officer - it’s all on the agenda at the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.

Police chiefs met at the Golden Nugget for training courses, but they are working to improve issues plaguing departments statewide.

“This profession has certainly changed over the years, and it is much more difficult to be a police officer now than it’s ever been before,” Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said.

Law enforcement agencies came together to address problems in departments across the state, specifically in terms of retention and recruitment.

“Everybody is short policemen, you just can’t seem to get anybody interested in coming to this line of work anymore,” Miller said.

“Everybody has staffing issues, everybody has pay issues, but we are going to be lobbying our state representatives in the state capitol,” Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry Sr. said. “We are going to be lobbying them to help law enforcement with better benefits, also better pay raises.”

Chiefs said they won’t only lobby for their staff, but they will also ask for more funding to assist with mental health issues they encounter on the streets.

“That’s one of the issues we really talked about,” Daughtry said. “There are a lot of people that have mental health issues. They don’t deserve to be in jail, but as law enforcement, we are tasked with that duty where we are called to deal with it.”

Department heads also remembered a fallen member of the law enforcement family, Meridian police officer Kennis Croom, who died in the line of duty a week ago.

“The chief of Meridian was here; she came and we encouraged her to come,” Daughtry said. “One of the reasons why is we wanted to let her know we had her back. No one understands what a chief is going through, like other chiefs. At the end of the day, you’re almost like a parent.”

“I also think that will change,” Miller said. “I think we will see the upswing eventually and you’ll see more people want to get into this work.”

While at the conference, departments were also able to add new state-of-the-art equipment to their arsenals.

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