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6/25/2018 7:04:05 PM
Posted: 5/31/2018 11:05:44 PM EDT
I'm not LEO, current or retired, but figured this would be the best place to ask.

My wife is on the city council of our very small city (pop: 5000). It's her first term.

Our city is located in North East Georgia. Our police department is NOT tacticool at all.

No armoured cars, IFV's, SWAT team, etc. Just the basic patrol officer with a glock, shotgun, vest and Charger.
Ok, one of them drives a Taurus and she scares the hell out of me.

The wife unit asked that I reach out to LEO's on the boards to get some advice.

Our police department consists of 8 officers and the chief. They all make around $14.50 an hour.

The city next door is much larger, has a larger PD and pays them $16.00 an hour. Highest paid PD in the
county is paying $19.50. She is looking for ideas from other municipalities on how they created space
in the budget or generated more income to pay their officers more. We know these officers personally and
I'm on good terms with the Chief.

He is 100% by the Constitution and will have words with anyone that goes against it. They deserve morethan what they are getting.

The wife unit wants to get them past the $14.50 per hour mark and is hoping for $16, but the money is just
not in the budget. We also have to worry about losing our officers. They stick around for the "family"
environment and loyalty to the Chief, but that's it. We will start losing great people to higher paying cities.

So, anyone have any experience with their cities making efforts to get more money freed up to pay their PD's?

Sorry about the formatting. Types it on PC and posted on phone.

Thanks in advance!
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 1:59:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By boerseun:

I'm not LEO, current or retired, but figured this would be the best place to ask.

My wife is on the city council of our very small city (pop: 5000). It's her first term.

Our city is located in North East Georgia. Our police department is NOT tacticool at all.

No armoured cars, IFV's, SWAT team, etc. Just the basic patrol officer with a glock, shotgun, vest and Charger.
Ok, one of them drives a Taurus and she scares the hell out of me.

The wife unit asked that I reach out to LEO's on the boards to get some advice.

Our police department consists of 8 officers and the chief. They all make around $14.50 an hour.

The city next door is much larger, has a larger PD and pays them $16.00 an hour. Highest paid PD in the
county is paying $19.50. She is looking for ideas from other municipalities on how they created space
in the budget or generated more income to pay their officers more. We know these officers personally and
I'm on good terms with the Chief.

He is 100% by the Constitution and will have words with anyone that goes against it. They deserve morethan what they are getting.

The wife unit wants to get them past the $14.50 per hour mark and is hoping for $16, but the money is just
not in the budget. We also have to worry about losing our officers. They stick around for the "family"
environment and loyalty to the Chief, but that's it. We will start losing great people to higher paying cities.

So, anyone have any experience with their cities making efforts to get more money freed up to pay their PD's?

Sorry about the formatting. Types it on PC and posted on phone.

Thanks in advance!
View Quote
There is only two legal ways for a municipality to increase funding and that is by 1) cutting services and/or 2) raising taxes.

Short of getting donations or grants (that run out and usually have a requirement for the entity to take over payments at the same level) that's about the only options.

J-
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 2:21:45 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By jjc155:

There is only two legal ways for a municipality to increase funding and that is by 1) cutting services and/or 2) raising taxes.

Short of getting donations or grants (that run out and usually have a requirement for the entity to take over payments at the same level) that's about the only options.

J-
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That's more or less what I thought, but I didn't want to burst her bubble out of the gate. She's trying to do the right thing, but red tape, laws, etc...
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 7:17:40 AM EDT
Got a neighboring city needs a PD to service them? Other than that they need to write more tickets, or lay off one to pay the others more. But 8 officers to police a city of 5000 is pretty low compared to the national average.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 7:24:44 AM EDT
Install a red light camera and speed cams. The revenue will be mailed.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 9:28:15 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By vengarr:
Got a neighboring city needs a PD to service them? Other than that they need to write more tickets, or lay off one to pay the others more. But 8 officers to police a city of 5000 is pretty low compared to the national average.
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We aren't exactly a bustling metropolis and crime is stupid low. About the worst crime we deal with, is a few domestics and low level drug issues. One of our officers did capture a home invasion suspect a few weeks ago. He was so proud...hehehe.
Anyways, we are trying to go it alone, because the neighboring cities have liberal agendas that don't really mesh with what we're trying to do.
What would the correct number of officers be for 5000 people? They already fired one officer, because he posted video on social media of himself doing donuts in the PD parking lot in his charger.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 9:28:42 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By FedDC:
Install a red light camera and speed cams. The revenue will be mailed.
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We don't have a traffic light! Speed camera will get shot out within hours haha.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 11:31:07 AM EDT
If you only have 8 officers for 5000 people and you cant get above 15$ youve got bad milage rates or franchise fees or your city cant manage money well.

You will lose good officers to better departments, the city wont care or notice a degradation in service...until something happens.

You either stay competitive for the future or you fall behind and never catch up
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 2:24:45 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By boerseun:
We aren't exactly a bustling metropolis and crime is stupid low. About the worst crime we deal with, is a few domestics and low level drug issues. One of our officers did capture a home invasion suspect a few weeks ago. He was so proud...hehehe.
Anyways, we are trying to go it alone, because the neighboring cities have liberal agendas that don't really mesh with what we're trying to do.
What would the correct number of officers be for 5000 people? They already fired one officer, because he posted video on social media of himself doing donuts in the PD parking lot in his charger.
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Originally Posted By boerseun:
Originally Posted By vengarr:
Got a neighboring city needs a PD to service them? Other than that they need to write more tickets, or lay off one to pay the others more. But 8 officers to police a city of 5000 is pretty low compared to the national average.
We aren't exactly a bustling metropolis and crime is stupid low. About the worst crime we deal with, is a few domestics and low level drug issues. One of our officers did capture a home invasion suspect a few weeks ago. He was so proud...hehehe.
Anyways, we are trying to go it alone, because the neighboring cities have liberal agendas that don't really mesh with what we're trying to do.
What would the correct number of officers be for 5000 people? They already fired one officer, because he posted video on social media of himself doing donuts in the PD parking lot in his charger.
Fyi, not a cop but I'm a piglet. National average is 3 or so per 1000. So near twice your size.
Are all your officers actually working and earning their pay? If crime is stupid low what are they doing for 40 hours a week? You barely have double coverage on every shift as it is.

Same as any industry, if you got fat, trim it.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 6:28:34 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By staringback05:
If you only have 8 officers for 5000 people and you cant get above 15$ youve got bad milage rates or franchise fees or your city cant manage money well.

You will lose good officers to better departments, the city wont care or notice a degradation in service...until something happens.

You either stay competitive for the future or you fall behind and never catch up
View Quote
The city manages finances great, but the milage rate is very low. In fact they've brought it down several times. All about low taxes and frugal spending here, thank God. But that said, we do need to pay these guys a bit more or lose them.
We have a school in the middle of town. Wife just told me they were discussing putting a trap up in that zone (speeders are a problem during school hours and there's always someone pulled over there). One councilman suggested tag scanners, but my wife and chief both told him no way in hell are they going that route.
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 6:32:50 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By vengarr:

Fyi, not a cop but I'm a piglet. National average is 3 or so per 1000. So near twice your size.
Are all your officers actually working and earning their pay? If crime is stupid low what are they doing for 40 hours a week? You barely have double coverage on every shift as it is.

Same as any industry, if you got fat, trim it.
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*SNORT* hahaha.
We usually only have one or 2 on duty at any given time and they do a lot of patrolling. Our city is very spread out. Not sure we can trim much from this department. They are pretty much shoestring as is...now our fire department...that's a whole nuther story. Holy mackarel - those engines. So many. So large. So expensive. Whatever happened to a garden hose and a step ladder?
Link Posted: 6/1/2018 7:47:21 PM EDT
Then milage is the problem. You get what you pay for and running speed traps is a band aid and weak excuse.

The department should have another 4 guys and be competitive with surrounding agencies. You already dont have any specialty units, so whats to keep guys there?

Turnover will cost a city more long term than just keeping productive good employees.

Been in this line of work since 2006, worked for "frugal" officials, that generally just means their cheap and love to cut corners to show they can pinch pennies. Thank god we got a city manager who came in and made the milage on par with neighbors so we could replace our 10 yo cars and hire some more guys
Link Posted: 6/2/2018 2:39:45 PM EDT
First, look at their CAD calls and proactive policing calls and see if they deserve a raise.
Link Posted: 6/2/2018 5:24:03 PM EDT
Small departments like that are often a revolving door around here. The good officers use it as a stepping stone to bigger/better paying departments. The screw ups stay around and hide under the low call volumes until they wash out or get fired.

I can't imagine being an officer now a days for that kind of pay. That's crazy
Link Posted: 6/3/2018 2:13:28 AM EDT
Start a reserve unit.

Once you get people that can do what the full timers do, for free...

Start sending the officers to all kinds of training. Let them work an extra job in uniform with the cruiser, like going a county or two over and controlling traffic for the state, or working security at events or something.

Improve their time off time by letting the reserves work some hours.

Other stuff that might attract talent and improve retention: increase their benefits, like better health care. Work a deal with a city gym, and get them a free pass. Better gear (via federal and military programs, or handmedown stuff from bigger departments). Improve the radio system. Institute a master patrolman tiered program. Look into awards and commendation bars.

You may not be able to generate any crime to interest professional, long-term officers (nobody gets in that career field to take reports and lock the city park at night), but you can entice them other ways.

Far as finding money, you gotta look at things from a business perspective. What can your city do to increase revenue? (Protip - generation via officer interaction like tickets and fining people for ordinance violations is a Bad Idea). No festivals? Street parties? Attract tourism. Hold a beerfest or biker week or fastpitch softball or movie night at the park or a regional golf tournament or.... it's endless, really. Each has pros and cons.
Do like they do around here, and finger annex something profitable in the county. lol

Otherwise, it's adding a penny to the tax, and might get your wife voted out. Otherwise, she's going to have to accept that your municipality is only going to attract people getting their foot in the door and people that don't want to do actual police work. (shrugs)
Link Posted: 6/3/2018 3:47:36 AM EDT
Thanks guys! Great advice so far. Keep em coming!
Link Posted: 6/3/2018 3:52:51 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By high_order1:
Start a reserve unit.

Once you get people that can do what the full timers do, for free...

Start sending the officers to all kinds of training. Let them work an extra job in uniform with the cruiser, like going a county or two over and controlling traffic for the state, or working security at events or something.

Improve their time off time by letting the reserves work some hours.

Other stuff that might attract talent and improve retention: increase their benefits, like better health care. Work a deal with a city gym, and get them a free pass. Better gear (via federal and military programs, or handmedown stuff from bigger departments). Improve the radio system. Institute a master patrolman tiered program. Look into awards and commendation bars.

You may not be able to generate any crime to interest professional, long-term officers (nobody gets in that career field to take reports and lock the city park at night), but you can entice them other ways.

Far as finding money, you gotta look at things from a business perspective. What can your city do to increase revenue? (Protip - generation via officer interaction like tickets and fining people for ordinance violations is a Bad Idea). No festivals? Street parties? Attract tourism. Hold a beerfest or biker week or fastpitch softball or movie night at the park or a regional golf tournament or.... it's endless, really. Each has pros and cons.
Do like they do around here, and finger annex something profitable in the county. lol

Otherwise, it's adding a penny to the tax, and might get your wife voted out. Otherwise, she's going to have to accept that your municipality is only going to attract people getting their foot in the door and people that don't want to do actual police work. (shrugs)
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I've spoke to the city council and the chirf about starting reserves, but the department is so small and underfunded that they can't get the certification at this point to train and keep reserves. I'd be one of the first to sign up! I just can't afford to be a full time cop.
We have the farmer's market and my wife have been talking about starting a movie in the park type thing. Our town is pretty....uhhh....Industrial. If you are in the South East and buy chicken at a store or restaurant, chances are it went through our town. We have one of the largest chicken raising and processing facilities in the country. Still baffles me how the tax revenue from that can't run the whole damn town. We also have the only regional airport in about 50 miles. What's that saying? It costs money to make money...penny pinching old bastards on that city council...except my wife of course.
Next time a seat opens, I'm running. Post 3 is so old, he just sits there half asleep during the meeting...drooling.
Link Posted: 6/3/2018 12:15:48 PM EDT
I can't imagine how a town of 5000 could ever support any reasonable police agency. Close the doors and get contract coverage from the Sheriff's Office.
Link Posted: 6/4/2018 12:14:59 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By boerseun:

I've spoke to the city council and the chirf about starting reserves, but the department is so small and underfunded that they can't get the certification at this point to train and keep reserves. I'd be one of the first to sign up! I just can't afford to be a full time cop.
We have the farmer's market and my wife have been talking about starting a movie in the park type thing. Our town is pretty....uhhh....Industrial. If you are in the South East and buy chicken at a store or restaurant, chances are it went through our town. We have one of the largest chicken raising and processing facilities in the country. Still baffles me how the tax revenue from that can't run the whole damn town. We also have the only regional airport in about 50 miles. What's that saying? It costs money to make money...penny pinching old bastards on that city council...except my wife of course.
Next time a seat opens, I'm running. Post 3 is so old, he just sits there half asleep during the meeting...drooling.
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That's interesting.

Couldn't y'all politely ask Perdue for some kind of yearly endowment that might benefit Public Safety as a whole? You said the firefighters were pretty stocked, what about EMS?

Same same other industry heads.

Regional airport should be self-supporting. If it's not, something is wrong. Does the city do physical security there? If not, maybe they should look into staffing the airport, and then finding ways to make Federal DHS pay for it.

Have you looked into the revenues, and what they're going out for?

Honestly, fundraising is out of my lane. When I was a policeman I spent some time authoring grants to get us what we wanted, but outside of a COPSFast grant, that was more a city council workshop issue thing; I tried to avoid that because I felt it was a conflict of interest for me.

It's nice that you care about your officers. In TN we have CTAS, they are full of smart people that have lots of ideas, maybe there is something similar in your state that your wife can tap into. What's the mayor / city manager say? If they aren't on board, doesn't matter what you generate; it will go to service whatever their pet projects are...
Link Posted: 6/4/2018 1:53:18 PM EDT
Does the City Council have the right to raise the millage without taking it to a public vote?

When our new city manager came in and ran our numbers she discovered the previous manager was running the city into the ground. She ran the numbers by the City Council and they raised the millage by 2 mils and didn't need public approval to do it.

$14.50/hr? That's crazy low. Our starting pay at my department is $18.56/hr and I'm over $22/hr after three years. My two part time cop jobs paid more than $14.50/hr. We're only a 13 man dept servicing a city of about 10,000.
Link Posted: 6/4/2018 3:02:25 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 5-0Joe:
$14.50/hr? That's crazy low. Our starting pay at my department is $18.56/hr and I'm over $22/hr after three years. My two part time cop jobs paid more than $14.50/hr. We're only a 13 man dept servicing a city of about 10,000.
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It's a regional thing.

Officers are paid less in the South. I'd honestly expect it to be a little lower, given it's such a small department, in Georgia, with apparently not much of a tax base.
Link Posted: 6/5/2018 1:32:46 AM EDT
The DMV has grants for speed and DUI enforcement, see if your state has those as an option.

It gets good OT for the guys, and puts extra people on the road for when things break bad.

It also allows people to do proactive enforcement while the on duty guys are handling calls.
Link Posted: 6/5/2018 7:01:21 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By high_order1:
It's a regional thing.
Officers are paid less in the South. I'd honestly expect it to be a little lower, given it's such a small department, in Georgia, with apparently not much of a tax base.
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Originally Posted By high_order1:
Originally Posted By 5-0Joe:
$14.50/hr? That's crazy low. Our starting pay at my department is $18.56/hr and I'm over $22/hr after three years. My two part time cop jobs paid more than $14.50/hr. We're only a 13 man dept servicing a city of about 10,000.
It's a regional thing.
Officers are paid less in the South. I'd honestly expect it to be a little lower, given it's such a small department, in Georgia, with apparently not much of a tax base.
Me too.
Link Posted: 6/5/2018 7:28:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/6/2018 2:54:54 PM EDT
Two words- Grant money...

The Feds have tens of millions of dollars that go unused every year because no one applies for it. There are literally hundreds of grant programs that can be used for public safety, in addition hundreds of grants that can be used by the town or county public works, education, urban renewal etc (this will then free up some more money for the police budget.)

You need to start seeking out these grants and applying for them. It doesn't cost anything to apply, and most of them use the same format, so once a decent application package is written, you can send the same package in over and over to all the different grant programs. The police and the town board should be sending in dozens of applications every year. Even if its a far stretch to justify that particular grant scope, if you are the only application, you win...

Fed money is out there waiting, many places fund a good percentage of their budget every year with it. You just need to ask for it.
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 5:44:07 AM EDT
the only problem with grants is they generally are a temporary solution. We've utilized them, but most grants only carry for 3-5 years and then the city has to pick up the cost. If they aren't willing to pay now, there sure not going to pay later.

along with the fact grants are competitive now, you really need someone who knows how to write law enforcement grant applications
Link Posted: 6/8/2018 7:11:49 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By vengarr:

Fyi, not a cop but I'm a piglet. National average is 3 or so per 1000. So near twice your size.
Are all your officers actually working and earning their pay? If crime is stupid low what are they doing for 40 hours a week? You barely have double coverage on every shift as it is.

Same as any industry, if you got fat, trim it.
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The town I live in is 6,400. They have 18 sworn when full staffed.
Link Posted: 6/9/2018 4:19:53 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By shotar:
32 years ago I started at an entry level pay scale of 17.22/hr.

Your pay scale is scary.
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I've told this one repeatedly on here, in 03 I was a patrol sergeant in East Tennessee making $8.80/hr with no benefits to speak of, really. People around here are now entry level / certified making 14-17/hr. (shrugs)
Link Posted: 6/9/2018 11:32:14 AM EDT
We had fast food workers demonstrating here for $15 an hour minimum wage. That's sad.
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 7:01:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2018 7:14:46 AM EDT by tc556guy]
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Originally Posted By boerseun:

What would the correct number of officers be for 5000 people? They already fired one officer, because he posted video on social media of himself doing donuts in the PD parking lot in his charger.
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Originally Posted By boerseun:

What would the correct number of officers be for 5000 people? They already fired one officer, because he posted video on social media of himself doing donuts in the PD parking lot in his charger.
How many shifts are you trying to cover. What shift schedule are you using; 5 8's, 4 10s, etc
Are all of your people full time, or do you have part timers listed as well.
How many non-sworn employees does the agency have ( records clerks, etc )
Too many variables based on the information you've provided to give an answer.
Our smaller agencies tend to not have 24/7 coverage
If you're trying to provide 24/7 coverage, you barely have enough to have one officer per shift as it is, if they're all full timers and the chief is not actually patrolling, which he shouldn't be if he is properly running the agency
By NYS standards, that pay scale is so low that you'd never get an applicant here....

Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
I can't imagine how a town of 5000 could ever support any reasonable police agency. Close the doors and get contract coverage from the Sheriff's Office.
OP called it a small city; we'd call it a village here.
Several village PDs here for villages with populations smaller than that.
There wont be enough officers or specialized positions to have a dedicated investigator for felonies, so I assume that for stuff like homicides they ask the state or county for mutual assistance

It'll be very possible for the village to sustain an efficient, trained police force. They have to start out by showing that they SUPPORT their police. My current PT agency has gone through four chiefs and four Mayors in the four years I've been there. They went from a chief who supported the agency and its officers and a Mayor that did the same, to a Mayor who oversaw a 20% cut to the agencies budget a few years ago. part timers are fleeing in droves, the full timers are all seeking employment elsewhere, and the only people they'll get to work there are young guys desperate to get their foot in the door. It's been a major change since I walked through their door and its disheartening.
So, as I said, the village/ city has to support its agency and the officers who work there. Benefits, regular on-going in-service training. Maintain the equipment they use so that they can actually do their job and look professional while doing it.
See about any "free" training classes the state hosts that your people can attend. Host your own training classes; usually a host agency will get a free slot or two in the class as a benefit for doing so. There are ways to improve training on a shoe string budget.
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 7:04:40 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By boerseun:
One councilman suggested tag scanners, but my wife and chief both told him no way in hell are they going that route.
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I don't know if you're referring to plate readers mounted to the car, but there are grants for those.
I was the test officer in my agency when we adopted our first LPR years ago and recovered my first stolen vehicle with the LPR within a week of the system going on-line.

You mentioned handguns and shotguns; this is a rifle site.
Does your agency not authorize patrol rifles for your officers?
Link Posted: 6/11/2018 8:54:16 AM EDT
There is no magic way to create money in a municipal budget without taking it from somewhere else, or increasing revenue/taxation.
I would strongly caution attempting to add revenue via LEO action, it is strongly disliked by the public for the most part.

I would start looking towards the next budget process and laying the groundwork for an increase there.

No union negotiations involved?

Our part time/reserves were just increased to the $14 an hour range, and we are a half your population.
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