We've talked at length about the need for more visibility from local law enforcement. Showing the badge, and having highly qualified officers wear that badge, can only help Albany and Dougherty County's crime problem.
A very important part of our local law enforcement team is handicapped by hurdles of its own creation.
We reported to you in May that The Dougherty County Police Department has trouble keeping its ranked filled, and has even lost a veteran officer to neighboring Sylvester because of its pay scale.
The chief now reports that he has all his slots filled, which is good, but how long will these officers stay with DCP?
The fact is that DCP's pay rate is substantially lower than several other comparable agencies.
While DCP starts certified officers at $13.07 per hour, Dougherty School System officers start at $14.77. Albany Police start off even higher, at just under $16 an hour.
And if you're a certified cop, wouldn't you want to work at the Marine Corps Logistics Base, where starting salary is $16 an hour?
And DCP doesn't even pay for experienced officers when they get them from the outside. Even if the department brings in officers with years of experience, they have to start at the bottom of the pay scale.
What other agency or business does this?
We've got immense respect for the Dougherty County Police department, its people, and the job they do.
But until DCP begins rewarding experienced officers, and paying a competitive wage, officers who can go elsewhere will continue to do so.
We call on DCP leadership and the Dougherty County Commission to bring the police department's pay scale in line with its counterparts.