MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

September 16, 2013

Welcome new officers on the beat

Muskogee residents can expect to see six new Muskogee Police officers on the beat come January.

The six — Anthony Brown, Brandon Garner, Charles Jackson, Kalyssa Holland, Tyler Evans and Michael Cook — started training in July.

They continue that training at the Police Academy in Ada for four months.

This is one of the larger groups of new officers the MPD has seen in a while.

Police Chief Rex Eskridge said with these six, he now has 90 officers, down from 97 he had nearly a decade ago.

Eskridge said he wasn’t sure when MPD last added officers but that it has been a while.

“Retention is something we’ve got to pay attention to,” he said. “The turnover rate is starting to grow again.”

Eskridge said the wages in Muskogee compared with those paid in larger cities contribute to that.

The safety of the citizens of Muskogee depend on recruiting, training and retaining quality police officers.

Muskogee fights the wages that other cities can pay.

Muskogee needs to be able to pay a competitive wage to officers or risk losing them.

But people do not go into this profession for the money.

“I like being able to help people and help solve their problems,” Evans said.

Muskogee needs to support its officers.

It’s a tough, but critical job.

Eskridge called the rookies “good quality people.”

Sounds like the kind of people that would make good officers.

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