JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Jackson City Council has approved pay raises for the Jackson Police Department (JPD), which is a pay raise years in the making.

“We think it’s high time that we’re able to give our first responders, particularly police officers, a raise,” said City Council President Ashby Foote, Ward 1.

On Tuesday, the city council approved pay raises for JPD in hopes of bringing in more officers. The approved 2022-2023 budget will allow new recruits, with one year of experience, to have an annual salary of $45,000.

Despite the raise, it’s still below the national average for police officer pay. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor show an experienced officer typically earns between $57,000 to $67,000 a year.

Councilman Foote said it’s a small raise, but he hopes it will be a push in the right direction.

“We’ve got to be competitive in the marketplace out here in the metro area. This will get us closer to being competitive, so that our police get a fair pay relative to the policemen in the surrounding communities,” said Foote.

The councilman said Jackson police deserve more pay, but he doubts the City of Jackson will be able to match the salaries of officers in larger cities.

Command staff will not receive a raise, but Foote said future raises could be possible.

“We’ve got to get there. We want to be competitive in Mississippi, and we want to be able to attract and retain good police officers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in America,” expressed Foote.

The raises will come directly from the city’s budget and will not affect taxpayers.