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Jackson police chief: Department understaffed amid surge in killings

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The police chief in Mississippi’s most populous city says the department is understaffed and facing other issues amid a surge in slayings.

This year, 59 people have been killed in Jackson compared to 61 in 2017.  Jackson Police Interim Chief James Davis told the City Council at a budget hearing Monday the department is short nearly 100 employees.

Davis says to compete with surrounding municipalities, his officers need to start at $35,000 a year after completing the police academy. Recent hires earn roughly $27,000 a year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says police officers across Mississippi have an average salary of $34,550.

Davis says police also need 50 additional vehicles. His department is among few in Mississippi that don’t have dashcams or body cameras.