Sheriff says ‘embarrassing and laughable’ salaries drove three deputies to other agencies

Hinds Co. supervisors question how Capitol Police are held accountable.
Tyree Jones speaking outside a shooting at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds
Tyree Jones speaking outside a shooting at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 1:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Capitol Police have siphoned off three deputies from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.

Monday, Sheriff Tyree Jones said two deputies resigned from his department last week, citing the low pay. He said another deputy resigned before that, also due to the low pay.

Those officers, in turn, joined the Capitol Police, where they earn $12,500 a year more.

“Our salaries are quite embarrassing and laughable compared to salaries that are being offered by other law enforcement agencies,” Jones said. “As a result, we are losing manpower and we are losing personnel.”

Jones says deputies earn $29,000 a year, less than officers at the Raymond Detention Center. By comparison, officers with the Capitol Police start out at $42,500 annually. Starting salary for Jackson police also was increased during this year’s budget, to $45,000.

“It’s not about competing with other agencies or trying to outdo other agencies, it’s a matter of having something in place to be able to attract and retain personnel and be able to keep them within your agency,” he said.

In addition to recruiting and retaining personnel, Jones says it’s a safety issue. “If you have effective manpower on the ground, that will prevent your deputies and your law enforcement personnel from being injured and being killed in the line of duty as well,” he said.

The department currently has 77 deputies who typically patrol the unincorporated areas of the county. However, they also assist in Jackson and other municipalities as needed.

“I’m the highest-paid sheriff in the state of Mississippi. I just got a $10,000 raise according to law and legislature, putting me at $124,000,” Jones said. “My deputies are some of the lowest-paid deputies in the state. They deserve better.”

Jones wasn’t sure when the last time deputies received a pay raise. All county employees received a $100-a-month pay increase as part of the 2022-23 budget, which took effect on October 1.

District 2 Supervisor David Archie recommended going to the state legislature to seek additional funding for the sheriff’s department and the Jackson Police Department, so they would not have to compete with Capitol Police.

“They all are patrolling in the same area. They all have basically the same experience. Perhaps Hinds SO and JPD have more experience, but the Capitol Police are getting paid more,” Archie said. “I think it’s unfair to create a new jurisdiction within the county, and now we got to compete with salaries.”

Capitol Police have jurisdiction in the Capitol Complex Improvement District, the district stretches from Meadowbrook Road in the north to E. South Street in the South. East to west it goes from basically the Pearl River to Jackson State University.

Capitol Complex Improvement District boundaries.
Capitol Complex Improvement District boundaries.(WLBT)

In recent weeks, Capitol Police have come under fire for what is believed to be a large number of officer-involved shootings. According to WLBT figures, Capitol Police have been involved in three incidents, including one where a subject was killed.

Archie said he welcomes additional law enforcement but questions how the agency is held accountable. “Who do they report to when they do something wrong? The sheriff is elected. He reports to the people. The chief of police at the city of Jackson is hired by the mayor and confirmed by the council,” he said. “The Capitol Police need to be held accountable to this community if they’re going to play a major role in law enforcement within Hinds County, within this city.”

Those shootings are investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Both MBI and Capitol Police fall under the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Board President Credell Calhoun said he was a member of the legislature when CCID legislation was passed. He said Capitol Police was expanded, largely, due to decreasing numbers within the Jackson Police Department.

“We wanted to make sure that we had some law enforcement in the law,” he said. “Perhaps we need to get them some training to operate in this environment. We talked to the lieutenant governor about it and he said he would look into it and also said since the city of Jackson had such few law enforcement [officers], he’s going to recommend that we expand the Capitol Complex.”

Officials with Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s office were unavailable for comment.

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