WPPD hires five new officers

The West Point Police Department hired five new officers this week
Staff Writer

West Point Police Chief Avery Cook had an early Christmas present for the community Tuesday night -- five new police officers.

He introduced them during the Board of Selectmen meeting and said the group marked a "big step" toward getting the department to his staffing goals.

The new officers include Raven Ross, Edward Brown, Edward Coombs, Parish Petty and James Shelton. Some are Clay County natives and all had north Mississippi roots.

Cook also received permission to add Eric Morgan, Rodriguez Porter and Mike Blodgett as auxiliary officers.

When Cook was named chief in September, he said getting the force up to full strength was a priority.

Since then the 54-year-old who started his career with the department and was an investigator with the Sheriff's Department before returning as chief, has worked to recruit potential officers from the community and the region.

The five new hires get the department to 28 officers and Cook would like to get to 32, he says. The department also has two part-time officers and seven auxiliaries.

Selectmen also authorized the chief to spend $6,100 in community donations and $6,000 from the department's drug seizure account to purchase and train a canine unit for drugs and tracking.