The Meridian Police Department is dealing with a shortage of investigators. Within the last six months the number of detectives for MPD has dropped by almost half. Acting Chief James Sharpe says this decline is due to a number of factors, which are all related. In summary, he says the primary cause is attrition.
"This is just one of the cycles that we're going through right now where we have a group that was hired relatively around the same time and they're coming up for retirement at the same time," says Sharpe. "You also have people leaving for other law enforcement agencies, other jobs and personal reasons that make them leave law enforcement."
With ten investigators handling all of the cases for the Meridian Police Department, Sharpe says efforts are being made to fill the open positions as soon as possible.
"We're in the process of trying to hire new hires to supplement the patrol fleet before we actually start promoting from within to promote detectives."
In January, Sharpe says a test was given. Out of those who took it, 26 viable applicants were identified; background checks on those applicants are currently being finished. Once that's done Sharpe says the people who qualify will be contacted to find out whether or not they are still interested in working for the police department. He says the goal for now is to fill at least three detective positions.
"Of course, it's going to be something where we might be able to fill one slot for this month and then maybe one for the next month. It's going to depend on exactly how fast we can hire new hires to come in and replace their positions"
Acting Chief Sharpe hopes to make the first hire by the end of April.
In all, the Meridian Police Department currently has ten detectives; six of those handle general crime cases and the remaining four handle cases that involve juveniles.