What Happens to a Dream Deferred? Jackson Man Continues JPD Journey

After a short interruption the Jackson police department will be adding some new members to its force after all.

This week, police chief lee Vance announced that the department came up with a method that will make it possible to add officers to the team.

JPD will host its next class of recruits at the training academy in pearl to help cover costs. For potential new officers like Anthony Heath, that’s the beginning signs of reaching a goal once deemed impossible.

“When the class was stopped, I was devastated,” Heath said.

For Anthony, it’s the story of a dream deferred; now revisited for the third time. He is a Jackson man who spent years trying to become a police officer. It has been a dream of his to serve his city, since he was a kid.

“I could never get past the entry exam, for whatever reason. When I finally did, past that, the written and psychological test. Then I got word that the class was not going to start,” he said.

The Jackson Police Department put a pause on the hiring process because they simply couldn’t afford the expenses associated with bringing over a new class of officers.

“Money for a recruit class in the city in Jackson Police Department was cut out of our budget. So we were actually faced with going through this year without having a recruit class,” Chief Vance said.

That meant recruits like Anthony Heath, who had passed all required tests, had no choice, but to drop out.

The freeze was the result of budget cuts implemented by the city of Jackson in an effort to cut corners and balance the budget, but now there’s new hope. With help from the state, recruits will continue where they left off, finishing the process at the state training academy in Pearl.

“There are costs attached to running a class through the training academy, like having to feed recruits, which runs into the thousands. The state will be able to do that for us, and they will get a reimbursement from the state of Mississippi for doing it,” Vance said.

This help from the state means recruits will continue where they left off, finishing the process at the state training academy in pearl, if they are selected.

“Members of the command staff in particular Deputy Chief Wade and the training staff came up with a way where we could send our recruits to the training academy over in Rankin County. Allow them to train them for us, and we are able to save money,” Vance said.

Anthony says he too will be picking up where he left off. He tells us he is incredibly grateful that he has another change to reach his lifelong goal.

“Now I am waiting for the highly anticipated interview with the Chief of Police next week. So now the book doesn’t start here. The journey still continues for me to represent not just the state, but the city of Jackson,” Heath said.

The training starts in May and will run for 12 weeks.


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