Worth of the front lines

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Last week, Proctorville’s village council voted unanimously to increase pay for officers on the village’s police force to $12.50 an hour.

When we posted the story online, there was a large number of commenters outraged that those in law enforcement would make a low amount both prior to and after the raise.

To make it clear, we commend Mayor Rick Dunfee and the council for pushing this pay increase and are glad moves were made in the right direction. And council members are open to further boosts in pay for the police down the road.

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The issue of low pay for officers is not unique to Proctorville and is common in small municipalities, which have been cash-strapped with declining tax bases.

Last July, the village of Chesapeake moved increase officer pay by $1.50 an hour, bringing it to $11.50.

Mayor Tommy Templeton and council made the move at the urging of interim police chief Randy Thompson, as the village was, at the time, the lowest pay in the county.

Thompson said the move would help the village to retain officers.

We understand villages have to be cautious with spending and are leaders are doing the best they can in this situation.

But it still is disheartening to hear that anyone putting their life on the line isn’t  getting more compensation.

The job of law enforcement comprises far more than simply writing traffic tickets, with officers being first on the scene at accidents, dealing with domestic disputes or on the front lines of the opioid epidemic facing our region.

The impacts of local police work extends far beyond the village limits.

That is why we hope this issue could be addressed at the larger level and that county, state and federal leaders can help.

Investing in local policing would be a wise move by officials and it is imperative that more be done to ease this funding crutch and ease the burden of local governments.