Step-raises have been frozen due to the economy. Benefits have been cut. Starting in 2009, , newly-hired officers will not have health insurance in retirement. Overtime has become a thing of the past. Officers cannot roll over their vacation time or sell it back. After 60 days of accumulation, it’s use it or lose it. Cost-of-living increases? Forget it. In these tough economic times, the officers who put their lives on the line for Charlotte City and Mecklenburg County residents are expected to make do.
Meanwhile, Charlotte City Council has found money in the budget to fund a Street Car Project, a cause whose proposed extension will cost $119 million. They have also approved giving funds to the Charlotte Knights, a private minor league baseball team, to assist with their move uptown. However, when it comes to raising the wages of public servants, the city claims the money just isn’t there.
The local Fraternal Order of Police lodge paid $8,000 for an independent high level review of the city’s accounts, and found that the city CAN afford to adopt the new pay scale that has been recommended by the FOP. A copy of this report was made available to City Council prior to the adopting of the FY 2011-2012 budget, but Council did not review it.
This fall, Charlotte will host the Democratic National Convention, putting a huge strain on CMPD and its more than 1600 sworn officers and 550 civilian personnel. Many argue that if Charlotte expects so much of its police department, it’s time they step up and compensate them accordingly.
I have initiated a petition to correct this problem. I am the wife of one of the police officers who was involved in an August 2010 shooting in which more than 90 shots were fired. Luckily, all ten officers who responded were unharmed. However, things could have gone very differently. We want to send a send a message to City Council before they vote on the new budget on June 25th. I hope the petition will be enough to cause real change.
To find out more about the situation and to sign the petition, visit http://www.change.org/petitions/city-council-pass-the-fop-recommended-police-pay-scale or go to www.change.organd search “FOP.”