School Board spares no expense for constables -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

School Board spares no expense for constables

June 16, 2005

Albany-- The search is on for a chief the newest police department. The Dougherty County School Board is creating a police department whose chief will possibly make more than the Chief of Albany Police.

The ad that starts running Friday will offer a salary of "up to $65,000" a year for the chief's position. And even that isn't high enough for some board members, who want the chief to make at least $75,000.

When school resumes in August, Dougherty County students will be under the watchful eyes of a brand new school system police department. "This police department or police force will be specifically designated to work for and in the schools," said School Board member James Bush.

The school police force will be 16 officers and a chief, whose salary will reach up to $65,000a year.

But that's not high enough for James Bush. "In order to get a person, a woman or a man to do what we did today in this document, we're going to have to pay them more than $65,000," Bush said. "So what we're gonna do is, we're gonna end up with someone who just wants another job."

Bush thinks the chief should make at least $75,000 a year, even though a study of other school systems shows that would be inflated. "People always get well paid themselves, but they don't want policemans to be paid well," he said.

In Bibb County, the school police chief oversees 32 officers and is paid between $60,000 and $65,000 a year. In Columbus, the school police chief oversees 483 people and makes $62,000 a year. And here in Dougherty County, the school chief will only supervise 16 officers and will make up to $65,000 a year.

We asked how the higher salary wold be justified to taxpayers, considering that the chief in Augusta has 45 officers "The same as I justify other salaries in the system," said Bush.

And how's that? "This is Albany and that is Augusta. We are starting up a police department. I don't know what kind of department they have in Augusta," Bush said.

This department will be considerably smaller than a number of the other comparative systems that we looked at. So over Bush's objections, the school safety and security committee settled on a salary of "up to $65,000" a year.

"At this time I do feel that based on what other systems are paying, and what I understand police chiefs, are getting, I think that is a competitive, reasonable salary," said Board member David Maschke.

The starting salaries for the rank and file officers will be around $28,000, higher than starting Albany Police salaries of $25,000.


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