JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In the wake of more spikes in crime and homicides to start out 2021, Jackson City Council and JPD leaders had a serious meeting about new approaches.
But one important name was a no show. The meeting was scheduled well in advance but for the second straight time, the chief of police was a no show to discuss the city’s latest crime issues and answer key questions from the city council about what JPD is doing to solve them.
“We have a law enforcement crisis,” Council President Aaron Banks echoed from a colleague.
Even with deputy chiefs addressing the council, Council President Banks had strong words about Chief James Davis not coming to another law enforcement committee meeting.
“I think it would do a whole lot for the confidence of the council to be able to hear from the top man with the job,” Councilman Banks told the Deputy Chief. “I’m disappointed that he’s not here considering all that has happened. Why does it seem like you are turning your ear or turning your head acting like we don’t have a problem?”
By the next meeting, more discussions are expected to come on his role with the city and feelings towards his future.
“I think all options have to be on the table,” Councilman Banks added.
As of the 27th Jackson has recorded 12 homicides and spikes in other crimes. Much of which centers around JPD still experiencing staff shortages and facing types of crime they see hard to police on their own.
“It’s hard to police inside people’s homes and people who know each other solving their differences through gun violence,” Officer Sam Brown told us. “That’s something we can’t control or the gun laws with this open carry state. We can only enforce the laws the lawmakers make.”
“We’ve gotten a direct price scale of what it would cost if we wanted to take advantage of the cops grant,” Councilman Banks said. “And what it does as far as being able to rehire officers or hire officers. One of the things I addressed is the number of officers that have left over a period of time. 108 officers in the past two years.”
Other discussions through council members’ questions pointed to internal problems with leadership driving officers out linked to conversations members had with JPD staff coming to them.
“We got to dig in a little deeper to see the issues with why we had 108 officers to leave the department,” Councilman Banks explained. “I can’t say comfortably that 50% of those officers are all bad actors. There are some issues we have to discuss with the mayor and with the chief.”
The next city council meeting with this on the agenda is scheduled for Tuesday. Another thing raising eyebrows was Deputy Chief Joseph Wade stating we “minimize not having gang problems” in the City of Jackson but “yes we do” contributing to crime spikes.