Jonesboro Council approves 9 new hires for various city departments

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro City Council approved nine new positions for the city Tuesday night.

Three consecutive "yeses" by the Jonesboro City Council for adding new positions to the Jonesboro Police Department, Fire Department and Street Department.

"Approved hiring three new police officers, which will go to the patrol division," Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said. "We also had two that will go to the fire department and four in the street department."

Mayor Perrin said some of these hires have been needed for years.

"When I came in in '09, we cut the budget dramatically, and by adding these four (street department employees), it'll get us back up to the 2009 level."

The tight staffed Jonesboro Fire Department results in a lot of overtime hours, according to Mayor Perrin, which is why two new positions were approved for them.

"We think that the overtime we've been paying will help pay a great deal for the two more (positions) and it'll give them more flexibility."

The need for more police officers is something Mayor Perrin told Region 8 News is always present.  He said it's something they will have to look at every year.

"We have to," Perrin emphasized. "And we'll have to look at our crime stats, we'll have to look at our population," he said.

As Jonesboro's population increases, Perrin said the city will have to makes sure the officer to person ratio stays the same.

"It may be that the next two hires need to be in CID, they may need to go into our drug task force," Perrin said.

Perrin explained when the city looked into amending those departments budgets, they factored in the salary for those nine positions throughout the end of this year and into 2014.

"That figure goes almost to half a million dollars which is around $470,000."

As for the police department, Chief Mike Yates told Region 8 News they are in the hiring process for the three positions now.

Due to training and sending the officers to academy, it'll likely be a year before they are on the streets patrolling.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.