Veteran Phoenix Cop’s Thoughts On Pensions and Budgets
Veteran Phoenix cop has a message for you
EJ Montini, The Republic | azcentral.com March 27, 2014
I got a letter from a long-time Phoenix police officer who has something important to tell you.
I’ve heard from a number of police officers recently. They don’t often speak out publicly. That’s frowned upon by their bosses. But a lot of rank and file cops are upset about the negative way they’ve been portrayed by some members of Phoenix city government and operations like The Goldwater Institute
The letter I received from the veteran officer sums up the opinions of his brothers and sisters on the force. I thought you should see it.
I’ve removed most of the author’s identifying factors but the words are his.
And the feelings are real
The officer wrote:
I have been a police officer for 20 years. I have never seen morale so low. We have city management trying to take away every negotiated benefit and we have half the city council who don’t support their officers.
I’ve read some of the comments from the public and wonder what city they actually live in.
The public needs to know that we are running skeleton squads in patrol. The police department can’t sustain this much longer. We are already seeing more violent attacks on officers.
When I first started this career I had citizens come up to me and say I wouldn’t do your job for all the money in the world.
Since the market crashed in 2008, I (apparently) make too much money.
I’m here to tell you this is a young person’s game. I invite anyone to do a ride along and see the real dangers officers face each night. Not every call is on the news and gets the headlines.
I used to be one of the biggest recruiters for the Phoenix Police Department. Now I discourage anyone from working with the city.
I have earned a pension but the reality is I can’t afford to leave. My healthcare alone is almost $20,000 a year for the family. And I’m not eligible for social security.
The public should also be aware that Detective (John) Hobbs was eligible for retirement and chose to stay. He was killed serving the City of Phoenix. Detective Hobbs will never be able to enjoy retirement.
This was a noble profession when I started and now it has become a political lightning rod. Unfortunately there is a segment of the public that believes everything a politician says.
I don’t understand one thing: When public employees get a benefit it’s a taxpayer rip off that is unsustainable and established laws and contracts must be changed. But when it was time to bail out Wall Street it was important to do so with taxpayer money because, it was argued, the working man would be hurt if the rich did not get their bonuses.
The city council didn’t have any problem giving (former city manager) David Cavazos a $78,000 raise while the rest of the city workers took pay cuts and furlough days. By the way the employees agreed to these concessions to help the city. For the city council to hand out a raise was a slap in the face to every employee and citizen.
When an officer is killed in the line of duty you have a congregation of politicians lined up saying how sad they are. A week later it is business as usual — attacking public safety. What a bunch of hypocrites. I would rather them stay away. Every cop knows they don’t mean it.
It seems police officers have become a burden to the city.
I know I’m taking a risk sending this. The public doesn’t realize we actually get disciplined for speaking our minds and talking about city management.
But at this point in my career I need to speak up for these hardworking men and women.
I have worked with the greatest police officers and hate to see their hard work tarnished. I will continue to do my job because of the oath I took and because I believe in helping others, even if certain people see me as a burden.
(Column for Mar. 28, 2014, Arizona Republic)