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High crime and low salaries: Mississippi police say pay isn’t enough to recruit

Crime is on the rise across Mississippi, leading local and state officials to discuss numerous solutions on how to resolve the growing rate.

For Jackson specifically, those solutions include adding more district attorneys and judges to aid in diminishing the backlog of nearly 3,000 cases in the judiciary system, ramping up security at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, as well as adding 100 more Capitol Police officers during the next legislative session.

But Jackson isn’t the only area in the state in need of more police officers.

According to Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones and Covington County Sheriff Darrell Perkins, departments across the state struggle to recruit in part due to the low annual pay for police officers.

“The pay is probably below average…for Mississippi versus some other states like Texas, California, and Florida that have a lot more money than we do in different places,” Perkins explained in a recent appearance on The Gallo Show.

Jones added that other states who pay more and offer better benefits have been utilizing Mississippi’s low pay for officers as a way to recruit for years.

“You have Texas that has come into the state, right here in the city of Jackson and recruited,” Jones explained. “When I was with Jackson Police Department, I know we lost about five or six officers to the state of Washington.”

So how low is Mississippi’s pay for police in comparison to other states? According to a 2020 article from Forbes, the annual salary for a Mississippi police officer is the lowest in the nation.

Bottom-10 states for police officer salaries:

  1. Mississippi ($36,290)
  2. Arkansas ($40,570)
  3. Louisiana ($42,470)
  4. South Carolina ($43,520)
  5. West Virginia ($44,450)
  6. Georgia ($44,700)
  7. Tennessee ($45,370)
  8. Alabama ($46,720)
  9. Kentucky ($46,720)
  10. North Carolina ($47,340)

Top-10 states for police officer salaries:

  1. California ($105,220)
  2. Alaska ($87,870)
  3. New Jersey ($86,840)
  4. Washington ($80,200)
  5. Hawaii ($78,720)
  6. Illinois ($78,350)
  7. New York ($77,490)
  8. Colorado ($75,720)
  9. Delaware ($73,740)
  10. Nevada ($73,660)

The full interview with Jones and Perkins can be watched below.

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