Public safety recruiting is problem for community

Published 12:06 am Friday, February 16, 2018

Natchez Alderman Benjamin Davis does not have the silver bullet to the city’s recruiting challenges at the Natchez police and fire departments, but Davis is doing his part to take aim at the problem.

If local leaders are looking for a simple answer to Natchez’s recruiting problems, the mayor and aldermen should know by now that a simple solution does not exist.

Both departments have been struggling in recent months to find enough applicants to fill 17 positions left open from retirements, and resignations.

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Relatively low wages and a small pool of applicants from which to choose have created a recruiting challenge.

Recognizing the situation, alderman Davis has taken on the role of recruiter wherever he goes, including a recent recruiting effort at Ruby Tuesday that Natchez Fire Chief Aaron Wesley related to the alderman.

Davis is not the only leader working on the problem. Wesley said he has also been working with Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis to create a recruitment program in schools, targeted to students who do not plan to go to college after graduation. Such a program could go a long way to provide for both departments in the long term.

For the short term, the current recruiting challenge will depend heavily on community support.

Davis’ efforts serve as an example to the mayor, other aldermen and to all citizens that we can all be a part of the solution to Natchez’s recruiting problems.