DeKalb County, Georgia Board of Commissioners reduced pay for police officers in 2010. Officers face seven furlough days, and they are not paid holiday pay. As police officers patrol our streets and neighborhoods to keep citizens safe while enjoying Labor Day picnics, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas gatherings, they will not receive double pay like you and I would for working on holidays. That is unfair and unappreciative.
Everyone who is interested in human and civil rights should recognize the need for men and women on our police forces to have the resources, training, and temperments to do their jobs well. We want police officers to be alert on the job, willing and able to respond to emergency situations appropriately. They often must make snap decisions under stressful circumstances for their own safety and for community safety. When police officers make mistakes, we all judge them, and we should. But we should also be cognizant of some of the issues that can lead to problems and address them appropriately.
When police officers are tired after working all night on second jobs as night watchmen just to make ends meet for their families, it is challenging for them to perform at the level that is needed when they answer emergency calls. Fatigue and economic stress negatively affect police officers and impact their ability to protect and serve the communities that rely on them.
Honesty is of paramount importance in our police force. Adequate pay and high morale will enhance honesty. It is not good enough to simply say, "We support our police officers." They deserve a living wage, cost of living increases, and holiday pay.
The citizens of DeKalb County deserve officers who come to work fresh and ready to serve because they slept all night instead of worked a second job or stayed awake worrying about making their mortgage payments. Please join me in asking DeKalb County Commission to reinstate the seven furlough days, give officers holiday pay and a decent cost of living increase. Governments must tighten the belt as we face tough economic times, but reducing police officers' pay is not the answer.
Fatigue and stress can lead to avoidable tragedies. Please join us in asking DeKalb County Commissioners to give our police officers the respect and pay that they deserve.
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that DeKalb County police officers are fairly compensated for the valuable jobs they perform for residents and visitors to our county. It is up to police officers to protect citizens' lives and property. We request that police officers face no furlough days and that they receive holiday pay and cost of living increases.
Although it is important for officials to reduce budgets during the economic downturn, it is not prudent or fair to reduce wages for hardworking police officers who lay their lives on the line for the safety and cohesion of our society. Police officers need fair pay to avoid fatigue that comes from working two jobs or economic stress that could negatively impact their job performance and morale. A well-paid police force is important for community safety.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation in this urgent matter.