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Oxford PD seeks more officers on the streets

An increase of drivers on Oxford roads generally means an increase in wrecks and traffic issues that can tie up police officers who could otherwise be out in the neighborhoods and taking criminal reports.

To help alleviate the amount of time officers spend on wreck calls, the Oxford Police Department is applying for a Police Traffic Services grant in the amount of $55,000.

If awarded by the Mississippi Department of Highway Safety, the grant will cover the salary, benefits and projected overtime for one full-time traffic officer.

Need more officers

According to the MDHS, the officer would handle wrecks that result in fatalities and injury; traffic enforcement, including impaired driving, occupant protection and speeding; public education; training; and outreach.

East said the grant is for one-year and OPD would have to re-apply each year.

“However, with the city eventually annexing more land in the county, we are going to have to hire more officers anyway,” East said last week.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved East’s request to apply for the grant during a recessed meeting last week.

East also gained permission to apply for an Occupant Protection Grant that would help cover overtime hours by officers in the amount of $9,602 and an Impaired Driving Grant, which pays for two current officers’ salaries and overtime in the amount of $114,471.

Previously, the grant paid for two officers to work cases involving drivers under the influence of alcohol.

“They’ve changed that to say ‘impaired’ drivers, which will include people driving under the influence of other substances as well,” East said.