Saturday, December 24, 2005

You Get What You Pay For

Wilmington Star News: Opinion Section
Paying cops badly is no bargain

Low pay and the resulting high turnover are hurting the Wilmington Police Department’s ability to fight crime.

City officers make less than their brethren in other area law enforcement agencies, such as the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the N.C. State Highway Patrol. That makes it difficult to recruit and keep qualified officers.

Chief Ralph Evangelous points out that the revolving door drains his department of the experience needed to focus on problems such as the Rankin-Red Cross Street area, where two people were recently murdered.

High turnover can’t get all the blame for crime just up the street from police headquarters, but it undoubtedly plays a role. It also wastes money that could be devoted to hiring, training and keeping good cops.

After all, it’s expensive and inefficient to break in more than two dozen officers a year, as the department finds itself doing.

The City Council should work toward a pay scale that tells officers that they’re worth at least as much as the deputies who patrol beyond the city limits.

And it's worth noting here that Wilmington is considered the State's second most dangerous city.

posted by David at 6:27 PM :: Permalink ::

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