MPD Deals with Officer Shortage

Meridian Police Chief Lee Shelbourn told the Meridian City Council Tuesday that he needs more officers.

The apparent problem is officers leaving for other, better-paying jobs.

Shelbourn told the council that 40-potential replacements passed both the physical training and written exams, and were interviewed last weekend. Now background checks are being done.

But the process of getting any new hires ready for patrol is lengthy, including academy training. And the department is hurting now.

"I know that our interdiction team out on the interstate, which can bring in a lot of money to the city of Meridian, needs to be active," said Bobby Smith, city council president. "We've only got one officer out there now. We did have four. Had one quit the other day. We got some people to come out here to lateral right now doesn't cost the city a dime to come in here and go to work."

Lateral officers would be job candidates who are already qualified with academy training.

Chief Shelbourn said he also wants to set the number of uniformed officers to 94, but be fully-staffed at that number. The MPD currently has 80-plus officers.

Shelbourn said if the department is fully staffed at 94, it would enable the city to use a roughly $380,000 grant that requires full staffing.

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