Nine new police officers will be patrolling Meridian’s streets soon.
“Today starts their first day with us, so they actually start their first training today,” said Meridian Police Capt. John Griffith.
After yesterday’s installation ceremony, the nine new hires are now headed to the police academy, where they will undergo classroom instruction and physical conditioning.
“As our numbers come up, it gives us more officers on the street, which give us more visibility. It also gives us more officers to further implement proactive plans to get in the community before stuff starts happening,” said Griffith.
This brings the Meridian police force up to 106 officers.
“I always thought law enforcement was a good career option. I’m in the national guard and have a lot of friends that are police. They tell me they love their jobs, and I always wanted to do something that I loved,” said Quinten Pollock.
Joining the force are four new female officers. In a career that’s been historically male-dominated, new hire Liddell Smith explains why having more women patrolling the streets will benefit the community.
“Maybe some of them will be more open to approaching a woman versus a man, especially younger people without male influence in their lives. Women are more understanding and more compassionate.”
The new hires come not only from Meridian, but Wayne, Clarke, and Kemper counties.
“I think that pay increase helped us to pull from a larger applicant pool. We’re going to continue to do that and continue being aggressive until we get 110 officers. Once we get 110 officers, we’re going to be very aggressive on how we do policing,” said Mayor Percy Bland.