Police officers deserve better pay structure
Editor, the Advocate:
I am wondering how many citizens realize that we in Victoria are losing veteran police officers at an alarming rate.
Many of these officers have called Victoria home for many years and are raising families here; understandably, they do not want to leave. In order to keep these officers here, we need to initiate some type of incentive, i.e., pay or bonus incentives for additional certifications or schools. Many of them are volunteering for special assignment teams involving additional risks, yet there is still no reward.
Law enforcement is a labor of love, as it well should be; however, our officers need to be able to see hope for a career plan. Sadly, many of them are forced to relocate in order to do so.
Recognizing that all city services are important, as are all city employees, law enforcement, by the very nature of the job, simply cannot be grouped with non-emergency municipal services.
Adopting a competitive pay structure would allow veteran officers a process by which to reach a level in the existing salary range that would reflect experience. Whereas there is considerable difference in years of experience, this is not reflected under the existing pay structure. Officers reach the rank of Senior Patrol Officer after three years of service and may choose to spend the remainder of their career there if they do not wish to promote into a supervisory position. Under the current structure, a 3-year Senior Patrol Officer pulls the same salary as a 12- or 13-year Senior Patrol Officer. This must be remedied.
It is impossible to replace experience; we need these officers for our own protection and to ensure the integrity of the Department and to continue to train quality, reliable new officers.
I am asking each of you to support an experience-based career ladder plan, making it feasible for these dedicated men and women to continue to call Victoria home and to afford all of us the best police protection possible.
We appreciate council members willing to attempt to rectify this situation; please contact your individual councilman with your support.
Jodi Schaefer, Victoria