Jackson, MO hosting open house at fire, police stations March 17

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - The City of Jackson is putting on the ballot a safety sales tax which will allow the city to be more protected.

The city is asking the residents to vote on a half-cent sales tax on the April 3 ballot.

If residents vote yes, the revenue will allow funds for hiring several more police officers, a school resource officer, fire department training officer, a new police station and the current police/fire station remodeled for better fire services.

An open house will be held on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the police and fire stations.

"Seeing it for yourself is really the best way to understand what we're facing on a daily basis," said Police Chief James Humphreys. "The current police station was constructed about 40 years ago and is undersized and outdated. Employees share spaces originally meant for one person, or work in highly trafficked areas with equipment like the copy machine. We have significant storage challenges and there is no space large enough for our entire team to meet in this building."

In addition to tours, the Open House will include activities for families, with fire trucks on display and the police department's K9 officer, Beny, in attendance as well.

Jackson Police Chief James Humphreys said, if passed, will help hire more officers which will help the safety of residents.

"We're at about 11 or 12 at times," Humphreys said. "We need to be at 13 to 15 for a city our size and the growth that we're experiencing right now. We need to be able to keep up with that growth so we need more boots on the ground right now."

While this will help ensure more protection for the city, it will also help with safety for the officers as well.

"I've got offices that are responding to calls, one officer at a time to domestic disputes," Humphreys explained. "Those are always a two-officer call. I have one officer handling that call or two on that one, I might have three more come in that they can't get to because I only have two officers on the street about 80 percent of the time."

Humphreys also stated that a new police station would help with efficiency and mobility.

"It's just not practical anymore for our law enforcement operations all the way around," Humphreys added. "We've ran out of room, we have no storage, it's just not a practical facility anymore to do proper operations."

As it sits now, the City of Jackson has 1.6 officers per 1,000 residents. This falls short compared to the national average of 2.44 officers per 1,000 residents. Cape Girardeau sits at 2.0 while Perryville and Poplar Bluff are over 2.5 officers per 1,000 residents.

Jackson officers respond to roughly 14,000 calls per year.

Humphreys also stated they need to uphold with standards with a growing population. The population was at 7,827 when the current police station was built in 1981. The population now sits at 15,036.

"Everybody that visits our community, we've doubled our traffic, our daytime population has almost doubled from what we've used to be," Humphreys said. "Everybody that stops and visits that we protect and serve will contribute to that sales tax."

Jackson sales tax currently is at 7.225 percent. That number falls below other cities in Southeast Missouri including Cape Girardeau at 7.975 percent, Sikeston at 8.225 percent and Kennett at 8.975 percent to name a few.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.