HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Tuesday, the Waynesboro Mayor and the Board of Alderman could not reach an agreement to rehire 60 former employees, which puts a great deal of strain on the city’s police department by reducing their staff significantly.
“The Board of Alderman and the mayor have come to a stalemate over rehiring city employees, and the result of that is none of the city employees have been hired back,” the Waynesboro Police Chief, Holt Ross said. “We had a total of 16 officers… now, we have four active officers plus me and the assistant chief.”
Despite losing 12 officers, Ross still believes the department is capable of protecting the city.
"I've been hired to see that the city is protected, and we're going to see that job through,” Ross said. “We are going to make sure the people of Waynesboro are protected, and there is a law enforcement presence here.”
In doing so, Ross asked for a help from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
“When the chief contacted me and asked me for his assistance… I told him we would help with the law enforcement part of it,” Wayne County Sheriff, Jody Ashley said.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department joined the fight to help the Waynesboro Police Department during their time of need, but they are not the only ones coming to the rescue.
“There are other agencies too. I know the Jones County Sheriff’s Department has been here, and the Quitman Police Department has been here too,” Ashley said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies coming together to help ensure the safety of the city of Waynesboro. Going forward, Chief Ross hopes that the board and the mayor will set aside their differences and do what's right for the city.
“The next step will have to be the mayor and the Board of Alderman coming together and trying to reach a compromise,” Ross stated. “So, we can resolve this issue and put people back to work and resume services here in Waynesboro.”