JONESTOWN—Resident Billy Martin addressed the concern of not having a full police force in the community during the city council meeting Monday night.
Jonestown had three police officers, but two positions were cut shortly after former mayor Kenny Lester took office in 2017. Following Lester’s resignation in July 2020 and since new mayor Vivian Burnett took office in September 2020, the city council has been attempting to fill both of those positions.
Rico Smith remained as the police chief after the two positions were cut. Stephen James was one of the officers laid off in 2017, but he was rehired when the position opened in 2020.
However, the other vacancy has still not been filled.
Alderman Gregory Neely Sr., who ran the meeting in Burnett’s absence Monday night, said the town was working on filling the position, but potential candidates have turned down the opportunity.
“That person said he was coming and didn’t come,” said Neely of one applicant.
“I have a person that works for the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department,” said Martin.
“Officer Ware was at least one of the two, three officers we asked,” said Neely in response.
Martin said he would give Ware a call and see what the problem is.
“If you have somebody else in mind that might be interested in doing the job, applying for the job, just tell them to come by and talk to the chief,” Neely said.
Martin said he has spoken to three qualified individuals who would be well suited to work in Jonestown.
“I suggest that we go outside of just Coahoma County,” Neely said.