When I head out to town to hear some music, I expect a reasonable amount of safety will see my journey through to a successful end. I don’t want to get shot, shot at, stabbed, car-jacked, robbed, hit by a drunk driver, or killed. I want to arrive at my destination, enjoy my time there, and make it safely home. That’s all I ask. (Well, it’s also nice if the band is decent)
Charged with the task of seeing my evenings through to an enjoyable end are the police. They keep the order, so that I may enjoy myself. In the old days, it may have been the town Marshall or a deputy. Today, it is the CPD or the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office that gets to protect me from all sorts of maladies. They protect you, too.
I keep reading about cost-saving measures that are introduced to make the police and fire department “more affordable”. Things like taking their police cruisers, lowering their pension, or removing a few rungs out of the promotions ladder. For a while, we didn’t even have new recruits coming into the force. While being budget conscious is great, perhaps there are better places to look for those savings than our first responders.
Instead, why don’t we build a police/fire department that is the envy of all other departments? Pay a bit more than the other guys. Have the great pension plan for 25 years of hard work, ducking fists and bullets from wackos. Have the best equipment. Have the best personnel. Hire another 100 officers. Does that sound like a lot? Consider that with three shifts, that is only 33 per shift. With days off and an occasional vacation day, that comes out to about 24 per shift. Saturate the crime areas and make visibility high in the neighborhoods that need it the most.
Build the budget around a great fire and police department. Whatever is left, spend it on the other stuff. In any event, after budgeting for the first responders, then make the tough decisions on where to cut. Or, do the unthinkable and raise taxes to cover all the extras. But leave the police and fire department alone. (After you make sure we have the best pay, pension, equipment and personnel)
In a better world, the best police officers, fire fighters, and recruits from all over the country would want to come to Chattanooga. “That is where they appreciate your efforts in a dangerous job,” they would say. I submit that the crime rate would drop, and folks would be safe and feel safe. I also believe that our first responders would be safer.
I never got a chance to meet my grandfather. He was killed on duty as a police officer. My Dad didn’t get to know him well, either. He was 10 years old when his father died at the hands of a thug. My other grandfather was a highly decorated fire fighter for 38 years.
What can you do to help? Be active with your city and county council and commissioners. Also, don’t drive drunk. Drunk drivers create havoc and use up police time, ambulance time, etc. Let them spend their time preventing crime and policing the neighborhoods and business districts.
There you go – I made a music column into a rant about taking care of those that take care of us. Have a safe & happy New Year!
For more local music info, try www.chattanoogaentertainers.com. You will find great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site www.chattacountry.ning.com.
Email Bob Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000.