HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Many members of the Hattiesburg police force are happy about a new pay scale Mayor Toby Bakers signed into effect Friday afternoon in front of the Hattiesburg Police Department. Recently, City Council voted unanimously to approve a new pay scale for police officers in the City of Hattiesburg.
“When we talked to our police officers after our administration came into office, one of the complaints we heard there was no organization to the way we did professional development,” Mayor Barker explained. “There was no pay scale where a new officer could see where they could be in five or ten years.”
Which ultimately caused Hattiesburg’s Police Department to lose many officers to other cities, but as of Friday, consider that problem solved. The city officials believe a new pay scale will not only help retain officers but also bring in more lateral transfers.
“We're going to be able to compete with anybody in the state now, to obtain our officers and to get lateral transfers in from other departments that want to come and be a part of this... Be a part of our story,” Hattiesburg Police Chief, Anthony Parker said.
“When you have a pay scale that's organized. They can see as long as city council funds professional development year after year, they'll see where their career can go,” Mayor Barker said. “They can plot a path for themselves from patrolman to sergeant, to lieutenant, to detective, to captain, and all the way to chief if they want to.”
Currently, the department holds a total of 93 officers, which could grow with the upcoming police academy.
However, these officers will not see the immediate benefits that the current officers receive, but after serving a year they will become eligible for the professional development Mayor Barker signed into effect Friday.