R’land in process of hiring four more police officers
The Ridgeland Police Department is taking security of the city seriously. Recently, officials approved Chief John Neal’s request to add four new patrol officers to the city’s police force.
“We went back and looked at staffing over the last 10 years or so and saw shifts in personnel for various units — motorcycle, canine, investigation — and we didn’t backfill those with patrol slots,” said Neal.
According to Neal, when the police department looked over the number of patrol officers patrolling streets, they saw a need for additional officers.
“I took the proposal in front of the mayor and board (of aldermen) asking for a mid-year budget amendment.”
The board approved.
For the Ridgeland Police Department to hire one officer costs approximately $40,000, which includes an entry-level salary and benefits such as insurance, unemployment and retirement ($30,000).
Equipment is also accounted for and includes items such as a uniform, radio, firearm and a bullet-proof vest ($10,000).
“We also have to look at capital expenses,” said Neal. “For every two officers we hired, that’s an additional vehicle. It’s about $50,000 per vehicle by the time you put mobile radios, lights, in-car computers, cameras, all that to outfit the vehicle.”
Overall, that adds up to approximately $260,000 to bring on four new patrol officers.
“I have a great appreciation for our mayor and board for this,” Neal said. “Ridgeland’s not in any crisis, but we’re trying to stay ahead of the crime. Putting more officers out there is a deterrent, so the more officers we have on the street, the less crime we’ll have.”
Neal said that for the mayor and board to approve such a large budget amendment three-fourths through the fiscal year shows their support for public safety and commitment to protecting Ridgeland citizens.
The department has already begun the recruitment process by attending college and university job fairs.
“We’re putting the word out that this has been passed and we’re looking for officers,” said Neal. “We’re just asking that they contact the Ridgeland Police Department.”
Recruiters are working through word of mouth and social media to let potential candidates know about the open positions, instead of relying on the traditional employment Web sites.
Adding these four officers will bump Ridgeland up to having 67 sworn officers.
“Ultimately, our goal is to have 10 officers assigned to each patrol shift, covering specific beats and answering calls,” said Neal. “The other 27 will cover the warrants, investigation, traffic and other divisions.”