Last night, my opponent voted for a budget that includes raises for every city employee except the ones who put their lives on the line in the name of public safety. Councilman Manny Rico cast the deciding vote for Mayor Littlefield’s budget proposal. Under this plan, a civilian department administrator will receive a pay increase of over $3,400 this year while a sergeant with 20+ years with the police department will receive nothing. The mayor’s chief of staff will see an increase of $3,700, while a firefighter on Main Street will receive nothing. Where is the fairness in that?
Police officers, of course, are largely unsurprised by this. It’s the same as last year, and the year before that… and the year before that. That doesn’t make it right, but it is the way things have been. Our city government continues to wring its hands over the issue of crime and gangs, but they continually disrespect and insult the very people who can solve the problem. Without a well-funded police department, crime will continue to be a problem.
The only thing Councilman Rico did last night was weaken the already fragile state of our public safety. The employees in the civilian departments are very deserving of pay increases, but we cannot ignore the sworn officers who rush into burning buildings, get shot, get stabbed and save lives as a routine part of their jobs. They help protect us; it’s about time we help protect them.
Candidate for Chattanooga City Council
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Right you are, Chris. I personally just retired from the Chattanooga Police Department after 26 years of service. What, you say? You remember the mayor and the police brass tell the public how they value veteran officers?
I know you're familiar with the term "thin blue line." The blue line at the CPD is a mile thick and it divides the officers from the brass that's down a long hallway in carpeted locked offices behind card entry doors the officers don't have card keys to even enter.
My point is this. When you get the public willing to demand more from the elected politicians for its police and fire, your fight to get the sworn politicians hidden away behind their locked doors should be a tad easier.
This veteran sees a vindictive group behind those doors. Don't just take my word for it, ask officer David Ashley. A hero that stopped Sgt. Chapin's murderer. When a police department has an officer(s) involved in such a life changing event, it's common courtesy to honor them when they request to get off the streets, not ignore them. That's a grudge. That's not how brothers in blue treat one another, rather it's the haves and the have nots in that place.
One unappreciated veteran has left the building.