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St. Joseph Police Department welcomes its newest officer

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We spoke with Kylee Meehan on her future with the St. Joseph Police Department, and a recruiter on how the recent pay raise is effecting the department's success in hiring more officers.

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) While most people may go out to party for their 21st birthday, one college student decided it's time to serve her community.

We spoke with Kylee Meehan on her future with the St. Joseph Police Department, and a  recruiter on how the recent pay raise is affecting the department's success in hiring more officers. 

Kylee Meehan was sworn in at City Hall to become an officer with the St. Joseph Police Department.

Meehan is currently a psychology student at Missouri Western, set to graduate in May.

"So I've always kind of been interested in that side of it, and how psychology relates to the criminal justice system. And then I started volunteering out at the academy and saw kind of what police work was like, and I really have a passion for investigations. And so once I found out that that was a path that I could take, I just kind of jumped on it as soon as the opportunity presented itself,” Meehan says.

She completed the Law Enforcement Academy in December, and wanted to stay in St. Joseph to have a positive impact on the community she grew up in. 

"I think there's a lot of things that are in the community that I wasn't aware of as a kid. And so, I want to better that. I have four younger siblings and so I wanna make this a better place for them and stay close to home,” Meehan says. 

St. Joseph Police Department recruiter Ethan Miles says Meehan is excited to start the job, and that just one person can make a difference at the department.  

"Even though it's one body, that's one body that fills the spot that is needed. The department, you know, when you're down one person, that can hurt. And to be able to fill that and have somebody learning and excited to get in there and do the job is what we need,” Miles says. 

Last fall, St. Joseph police officers protested in front of City Hall for increased pay, and the city passed a half-cent sales tax that allows for higher wages. Miles says that while the department is still shorthanded, they have seen an increase in applications.

"And people calling asking, you know what, what exactly it is that we offer. And I do know, come July our base pay will jump more, which will help with that too,” Miles says. 

Miles says the St. Joseph Police Department has a couple recruiting events coming up, including in Iowa, to hopefully establish more police officers in the department.  

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