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The Scoop - Let's pay our officers more
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Everyone wants to earn more money. It's budget season for our school system and for our city and county governments with a familiar refrain across the board.

Employees want more money. In the words of Billy Idol, they want, "more, more, more."

It's easy to see the reason why. Everything seems to cost more today than it did just a year ago, although, shameless plug, the price of the award-winning Southern Standard remains a mere $1 during the week and $1.25 on Sunday. It could be the greatest bargain in the world today.

The city of McMinnville is considering adopting a new pay scale that pays its employees based on salaries for similar jobs around the region. The school system is trying to figure out a way to pay its substitute teachers more because of the perpetual shortage of subs.

When it comes to pay, my top priority would be paying our law enforcement officials more money. They are the ones ensuring our streets are safe, or at least as safe as possible in a world where everyone carries a loaded gun.

Sheriff Tommy Myers told me the other day that he has recently lost two deputies to Bridgestone because they can earn far more money there. McMinnville Police Department has the same problems as Police Chief Nichole Mosley told city officials in a recent meeting.

When it comes to government, I realize everyone is valuable. But some people are more valuable than others. The people who have the greatest value are our police officers.

The war in Ukraine has provided the perfect example that if you don't have a strong military, you are at risk of losing your country. 

Local law enforcement is just as vital. If you don't have a strong police department and sheriff's department, you are at risk of losing your community to criminals.

Think of what we ask our officers to do. They have to make traffic stops and approach unknown vehicles on the side of the road. They hurl themselves into the middle of drug operations in hopes of keeping meth and fentanyl off the street. And they have to intervene in the middle of tense domestic situations which are extremely dangerous and often involve a weapon.

In short, our officers are required to do things that many government workers can avoid while sitting in comfortable offices. This is not to say people sitting in comfy offices are not important, but the work is clearly not the same.

If we're talking about pay raises, which everyone is talking about this time of year, I think our governments should start by giving our deputies and police officers as much as possible, then divide anything that's left among other employees.

I'm sure I'm setting myself up for phone calls to hear just how valuable everyone in local government is to our community, but until you hold a suspect at gunpoint or try to control an irate inmate at the jail, you're not as valuable as our officers.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.