CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - As police in Sikeston continue the search for 28-year-old murder suspect Kyle Johnson in the shooting death of Jacob Moore, the department faces another challenge: staffing.
“Staffing has been a problem across the nation and it’s no different for us,” said Sikeston DPS Chief Jim McMillen.
Chief McMillen said in the last year-and-a-half, they have lost more than 25 staff members.
“We’re still 10 officers down and two communications officers,” he said. “So, we’ve done a lot of things to try and help that and now we’re looking at these laterals from other departments.”
He said they’re looking for officers who want a fresh start in Sikeston by offering incentives.
“We’re even going to do hiring bonuses up to $3,000,” the chief said. “And we’re going to look at their pay and see if, according to their experience and training, and try to get them above our starting salary.”
And with the new 30-mile living requirement, he hopes to bring more interest to the open positions.
“It used to be 10, but we’ve extended that out trying to get people here,” Chief McMillen said. “We’re paying for people’s academy now, because the academy is expensive, and it takes time to get them trained.”
But overall, McMillen said experience is key.
“We’d like to have some people that have some experience. You know, two or three years’ experience would be great,” he said. “I know these officers out there that one to two years’ experience that may be looking for a good department to work for to have a long career. We feel like we’re that department.”
As he strives to make Sikeston a safer place to live.
“We just want to reach out to people and try to convince them to give us a shot here. It’s going to be good for them and good for our community.”
Chief McMillen said you can call city hall or the Sikeston Department of Public Safety for more information on how you can join his department.