In an email to the City Manager from Councilman Barber;
On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 1:23 PM, Mike <Mikebarberlaw@aol.com> wrote:
How did I come by this? I was contacted by City Council member Mike Barber. Let me say that again.Confirm you recd. tks!Subject: Immediate need for increase in Police Salaries and WagesJim,Based on a number of factors and concerns, I am formally requesting that you provide to council a budget and financial impact statement of a 6% to 10% increase to police department salaries. I ask that this be provided by next Tuesday end of business.I am aware that the impact is significant; However, I and others believe we are at a critical juncture in public safety. I will outline a few of the many reasons this is needed immediately to maintain community safety:-In past years, the disparity between the number of qualified recruits and open positions was far less. Today, there is a disincentive to enter law enforcement, while the demand, according to experts, has increased exponentially. This, coupled with the increase in violence and property crimes, makes it imperative that we act in the current budget.-It has become far more difficult to find recruits that can get past the background check and physical fitness requirements-again, significantly impacting supply of potential officers to serve Greensboro. As you know I made some inquiries and found that a significant and expensive recruiting campaign was undertaken which did not yield an expected number that could enter the academy.-We must retain our existing force.-There are many open positions in close proximity to Greensboro which provide an equivalent or greater pay package than we offer. We are losing officers that were trained at our expense to these communities. We are not protecting our investment.-A significant salary increase will show our commitment to our law enforcement officers, leadership, and employees, and show the community that we have not lost sight of the number one goal of every community-public safety. It will positively impact a damaged morale, and mitigate the damage done by our inability to properly limit the harm done by a few who instigate and create factless and baseless issues.Tonight shone a bright light on the need to reaffirm our commitment to the thousands of citizens that count on us to make Greensboro safe.Please call tomorrow at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss.Thanks for your continued leadership,Mike B.Mike BarberAttorney408 Hobbs Rd.Greensboro NC 27403
Contact was initiated by City Councilman Mike Barber! I didn't call and leave him a message. I didn't write an email asking for him to contact me. Mike Barber initiated contact asking for my support for his above proposal!
Why is this important? It is important because a member of our much maligned City Council has stepped forward and realized the crisis state that the City of Greensboro finds itself in. I have documented in this blog the rapid and increasing rate of attrition that is currently under way in our police department. I have documented the difficulty we have had in finding qualified recruits and our recent inability to fill and maintain recruit classes. I have documented the lack of vocal support to equal the volume of those who are hellbent on tearing down the police department. And I have documented the bottoming out of morale among our dedicated officers.
As spelled out in the above email sent to the City Manager Jim Westmoreland, Councilman Barber gets it. Allow me to provide Councilman Barber some ammunition.
According to the website www1.salary.com/NC/police-officer-salary.html, these are the average field police officer salaries for the top paying municipalities in North Carolina as of April 27, 2017:
1. Gastonia $53,414
2. Charlotte $52,332
3. High Point $51,921
Winston Salem $51,921
5. Cary $51,588
7. Salisbury $51,541
8. Kannapolis $50,569
9. Asheville $50,477
10. Concord $50,468
11. Greensboro $49,627
12. Hickory $49,217
13. Durham $49,216
14. Chapel Hill $48,384
15. Wilson $48,376
Rocky Mount $48,376
That's right; the third largest city in North Carolina is 11th. That number does not tell the entire story either. Of these cities listed, only Charlotte, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount and Greensboro does not provide take home vehicles for their field officers.
I spoke with a Durham Police Officer by phone while confirming this information. He is retiring May 31st. He advised that their current Chief of Police is working on salary and take home patrol vehicles as we speak. They are in the infant stages of assigning cars and are close to having enough vehicles to accomplish that goal. Durham has assigned 7 officers patrol vehicles and are working now to assign all patrol officers vehicles. Take home vehicles are a huge selling point to recruits and officers due to the money it saves the officer in transportation costs. With a huge push by local agencies such as High Point and Winston Salem to actively pursue lateral transfers with Greensboro officers being a main target, the need to take steps defensively to maintain our experience and numbers is at a critical point. Greensboro is no where near being able to provide these vehicles.
What to do? Mr. City Manager I implore you to ask for the full 10%. Our recruiters are being hamstrung to sell our department to the most qualified of applicants by salary and benefits. If we cannot offer the "perk" of a take home vehicle you must provide our recruiters with something to distinguish the Greensboro Police Department from all the others. Greensboro Police Officers and our department must have a distinction that they can call their own.
A 7% raise brings us to 3rd on this list. With all of the political assaults and rancor being aimed at the Greensboro Police Department, all of the morale issues, all of the lack of trust in police administration that exists in our department, we need to be first on this list! 10% gets us there!
I have known Mike Barber for over 30 years. I haven't always agreed with his political positions but he has always listened and been able to discuss any differences of opinion. I may disagree with him in the future. He asked for my support on this issue and I emphasize Mike Barber initiated contact with me!
MR. BARBER YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT ON THIS PROPOSAL!
If you are an officer or a supporter of the police department he should also have yours. He believes we have the money to do this. It has become a necessity. I implore each and everyone that supports our police officers to contact the City Manager's Office, the Mayor and your city council representatives in support of this proposal! I also ask that regardless of political affiliation you show your support and gratitude to Councilman Barber for his action as it is very much a "step out on the ledge" in this current ridiculous political time of bashing for our department and officers.
Those councilmen that step to the front to alleviate this state of crisis within our city will be noted, congratulated and documented in this blog. Those who don't; likewise.
WE MUST SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL FROM COUNCILMAN BARBER AS LOUDLY AND ARDENTLY AS THOSE PREDICTABLE FORCES THAT WILL OPPOSE IT.
Mike Barber has stepped to the front for our police officers. We must join and support him on that front and back his action to the fullest!