Lauderdale County Jail seeing shortage in correctional officers

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie says they are in need of correctional officers at the Lauderdale County Jail.

“We are having to pay a good bit of over time. We are having folks being called back on their days off or working double shifts,”

Other facilities in the state have been experiencing similar situations.

“I understand at the Leakesville facility they were 48 percent vacancy, as far as employees go. We’re not that bad, but we are 13 correctional officers short and three civilian tower operators short,” Sollie says.

Sheriff Sollie says the starting pay for correctional officers is $11.05.

“However the county does have great benefits that goes along with that pay package. On our civilian side, we have people that don’t have to be certified and are in a tower pushing buttons to door. That starting salary is $9.18 an hour,”

Right now in the Lauderdale County Detention Facility there are 186 inmates being housed. Sheriff Sollie says if they lose any more correctional officers operations could change.

“If we have a continued downward spiral of correctional officers, we could end up just like the Mississippi Department of Corrections and put our jail in a lockdown situation. The inmates would not be let out into the day room, and actually locked in their cells the most of the day,” Sollie says.

Sollie says this is a good way to get involved in law-enforcement. He says they need able-bodied honest people to come apply for the available positions.

“Tests that are given through Meridian Community College are given the second and fourth Friday at 8:30 a.m. but you still have to come by the sheriff’s department and pick up a packet,” Sollie says.

“We have a pre-employment test, which is the GED Reading Comprehensive Exam. There is a pre-employment exam that consists of a urine test. You also cannot having a felony conviction,” Sollie says.

If you are interested in working at the jail you can stop by the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department and pick up an application packet or call the department at 601-482-9806.