Let's quit trying to short-shrift public servants
I'm fed to the teeth with the "we can't afford government" shtick, y'all.
Tonight I heard one of my hometown's public opinion shapers -- again -- decrying the need to spend money to recruit, train, and retain professional public servants: our police force.
Don't get me started on what these nimrods want to pay public health nurses, disease investigators, and schoolteachers (except football coaches. Football coaches are worth several million dollars a year at the collegiate level, but the top researcher in that same university ought to be damn glad to make $45,000 a year).
Don't talk to me about their ideas on paying to keep libraries open (they don't see the harm in permanent closures, part-time hours and demanding a master's for an entry-level job for which they offer to pay $9 hourly -- it's all just government expense, so we should be able to get rid of it).
He says he'd like to see them become one of the top three departments, pay-wise, in Texas. (Depending on whether you use the city's numbers or the police association's numbers, they're either or they're barely in the top 50 statewide in terms of pay.) But right now isn't the time, he says.
But the numbers explain
why Lubbock stays understrength:
Source: Lubbock Police Department Starting police pay around Texas
• State average: $30,000
• Dallas Police Department: $41,690
• Plano Police Department: $56,631*
• Arlington Police Department: $49,504
• Houston Police Department: $43,965
• Austin Police Department: $50,848
* TMPA officials says this is the best paying department in Texas
Sources: Texas Municipal Police Association, Police departments for the following cities: Dallas, Arlington, Plano, Houston, Austin Starting police pay around the region
• Lubbock Police Department: $41,221
Comparable-size cities in the region pay their officers more later in their careers, too; an LPD patrol officer's salary tops out at $54 K, while in Midland the top pay for a patrol officer is $63K.
Lubbock's population is around 225,000 (*MSA-wide). Midland's is less. LPD hasn't had an officer killed on duty in several years (this past weekend we did lose a Lubbock County Sheriff's Office corporal to a drunk driver). Odessa, which is down the road from Midland the way Fort Worth is down the road from Dallas, had three killed in one incident (domestic violence call, which any officer will tell you is just about the ultimate suck to respond to) in 2007.
It's awful hard to justify the attitude of our local pundit-wannabe, IMNVHO.