Tupelo Police Department to cast line in pool of applicants

Tupelo Police Department

The Tupelo Police Department is looking for a few good men. And women. In a somewhat related effort, the department will next month offer the public a chance to see what goes into the training of a police officer.

Capt. Charles McDougal, TPD public information officer, said the department at full force comprises 115 certified officers. Due to retirements and attrition, that number is down though he wasn’t sure exactly how many officers the department needs to recruit: “It’s not a hard number we’re looking for,” he said. “We need a pool of applicants.” Part of the reason the department needs more officers is that the city initiated a hiring freeze when the coronavirus pandemic caused an unknown future for city revenues and manpower needs earlier this year.

McDougal said TPD held a career day on September 26 that had a “good turnout.” Of ten participants, six passed the physical training test, which is better than the usual 50 percent passage rate, said McDougal.

Applicants for TPD officers must be 21 years old, have completed 60 hours of college or two years of military service or hold previous certification from another law enforcement agency. They must also pass a physical test with a 70 percent score or better. Uncertified applicants must complete a 12-week training session at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy in Tupelo.

McDougal said starting annual pay is about $40,000, “in line with other departments in Mississippi.” He said the department is looking for both men and women, but women are not often drawn to police work: “We would like to have more female officers,” he said. In the related event, TPD will hold a Police Officers Training Awareness Day on Saturday, November 14, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Participants will receive an overview of officers’ training, various divisions, services and programs available.

You must be 21 or older and fill out an application to attend the event at the law enforcement academy. Sgt. Katarsha White said it is not a come-and-go event so attendees should plan to attend the whole program; there is no cost for the day, which will include some outside activities. In the event of rain, White said there will be some adjustments made to the schedule. Apply at the Tupelo Police Department on Front Street or call White at 840-2079. Applications must be submitted by November 5.

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