MOORESVILLE, Ind. — The Mooresville Police Department is pushing through the pandemic understaffed and underpaid according to town council members.
It’s led to trouble recruiting new officers.
“I can remember a time there would be in a hiring process, and there would be 200 plus applicants for a small town like Mooresville, with one or two spots,” said council member Jeff Cook, who spent 20 years as a Mooresville police officer. “This last process we were hiring three officers at the time, and I think our total applicants were like eight people applied, but only seven showed up, and six passed the test.”
They’re down four officers and are operating with just one detective. The Town Council recently approved pay increases for the fire and police departments. Starting in 2021, all members of both departments will see a $4,000 raise. This comes without raising taxes.
“We first talked the idea of doing one-time bonuses, but instead of that we decided to take that money and pay off debt. That’s how we freed up cash flow to pay for permanent raises,” said Mooresville Town Council President Shane Williams.
“We kept having a lot of turnover, which is expensive when you train an officer from academy all the way to all alone in a vehicle. It’s been an issue, I’d say it’s gone back several years to be honest. One of the reasons this is getting done is because it’s being brought out on front street in the public meeting. If your community knows and loves their police force, and your police force knows and loves your community, it makes for a much better policing situation.”
The hope is the extra pay and a robust benefits packages will be enough to lure more recruits to work for the police department. Recruitment is on going on year-round.