Councilman Banks: Extreme shortage at JPD

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– We’re learning one person died in one of the shootings on Sunday. Six others were hurt.

12 News’ Jade Bulecza tells us the latest on the investigations and why one councilman says more boots on the ground are needed to fight crime.

The man who died at Ellis and Lynch Street has been identified as 22-year-old Fredrick Smith Junior. Police say shots may have been fired from a late model Mazda CX-3 into his car. A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered. Call Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS with information. This wasn’t the only shooting that happened Sunday.

Four people were shot on Cromwell Street. Two victims drove away crashing at Woodrow Wilson Avenue and Gordon Street at 9:30 Sunday night. At last check one victim was critical, and the others were stable.

A half hour before that shooting, at a gas station on Woodrow Wilson, two men were hit by gunfire. Both went to the hospital on their own. They’re expected to be okay.

Councilman Aaron Banks talked to 12 News about this weekend’s shootings and what he calls an extreme shortage at the Jackson Police Department.

“We have a 50 percent shortage in every investigative unit around the city when it comes to detectives, when it comes to cease fire, when it comes to burglary, when it comes to armed robbery. We have shortages over there,” said Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks.

He says more police visibility would send a stronger message to people. They can’t commit crime in Jackson.

“We have an extreme shortage as stated before. We got around, budgeted around 402. We saw a presentation today where they wanted to freeze 50 of those positions which would leave us with around 348, 350 budgeted, but we only have about 155 active boots on the ground when it comes to officers,” said Banks.

He says what really needs to be addressed is the competitiveness of pay.

“You know Jackson State University, they can start out at $32,500,” said Banks. “We start our officers off at $26,900. We have competing cites you know, Pearl, Byram, Clinton. They give good pay. We have other institutions right here in the city, Baptist Hospital, UMMC Tougaloo, other colleges that pay more than what we start our officers out with.”

According to Banks, the focus needs to be on crime prevention, not crime reaction.

“This budget season is going to be one of the most important and imperative budget seasons we’ve ever seen,” said Banks. “It’s going to be important that we address that we’re serious about fighting crime and actually putting in appropriation where our heart is.”

On Saturday, two people were killed, police say 25-year-old Walter Hart died after a shooting in the parking lot of a funeral home on Robinson Street.

Twenty- three-year-old Marquis Bell was shot to death at an apartment complex on Bailey Avenue. There were arrests in both cases.

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