Stokes: Give JPD more funding to keep crime down - - Jackson, MS

Stokes: Give JPD more funding to keep crime down

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In August, there were more than $2 million was cut form the Jackson Police Department's budget to help balance the city's finances.

Now one city councilman says they need to restore that funding to keep the Capital City safe.

To Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes, it's an easy solution: take at least $2 million from Jackson's fund balance and put it back into the police department's budget.

After all, Stokes said the city has more than $5.9 million at its disposal to freely spend on other programs.

"We need to pay overtime and get some officers in these high-crime areas," Stokes said. "We need to make sure that these kidnappers that we're hearing about in South Jackson, we need to stop it."

Stokes said the money -- once given to JPD -- would be spent however Chief Lee Vance sees fit.

The department already took a $2.1 million hit after city leaders balanced the 2017 budget.

Vance says he appreciates Councilman Stokes' support for a funding increase.

When we contacted Mayor Tony Yarber, he said he hadn't seen Stokes' proposal nor spoken with him.

Neither has anyone else.

The item, which is expected to be on Tuesday's city council agenda, has not yet been posted on the city's website.

Yarber said any spending of the fund balance would be highly scrutinized because the city needs to save up enough money to reach its goal of restoring a required 7.5 percent reserve fund.

At the same time, Stokes said budget cuts tend to equal less overtime for the officers on the force, which makes it harder for the city to curb crime.

"In the last five or six years, I would dare to say that the budget's been cut by $10 million or more," Stokes said. "Now this $2 million will help. It's not gonna be the panacea of all problems, but it will put some energy back into the police department." 

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