Lawmaker Wants Better Pay For Part-Time Police Officers

By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — To Rankin police officer Rich Adams, police work is not just a job – it’s a vocation.

That’s why he’s willing to work part-time and patrol these streets for $9.05 an hour.

“I believe this is what the Lord put me here to do and if he wants me to do it for $9 an hour, I’m going to do it for $9 an hour,” Adams said.

Throughout the Mon Valley in towns like Rankin and Braddock, the story’s the same. Part-time officers put their lives on the line for low pay and no benefits.

“How can you have a person placing themselves in harm’s way making less than $9 an hour. It’s outrageous, it’s deplorable,” said Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

“Should there be a minimum so these young men and women shouldn’t be asked to risk their lives, and I think the answer to that is yes,” State Sen. James Brewster said.

Now some elected officials are taking action. Brewster wants to find state money to guarantee all police officers minimum pay – something considerably higher than $9 an hour.

“We need to look at the budget. Clearly, there’s deficiencies there that’s overwhelming but there are opportunities and we need to look at this particular items and it’s called law enforcement,” he said.

Brewster will be meeting next week with several Mon Valley police chiefs and District Attorney Stephen Zappala, who also see a crisis in threadbare, underfunded police departments responding to high crime – 45,000 criminal complaints, 5,000 criminal cases.

“There real cases, they’re major crime cases,” Zappala said.

Zappala is proposing shifting county law enforcement assets into the valley to aid struggling police departments.

“A court presence, CSI presence, intelligence and major crime president in the Mon Valley,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adams is working two other part-time police jobs just to make ends meet and even with the shooting of Officer Kuzak, he’s still willing to do it for low pay and long hours.

“Anybody that does this job and does it well knows that what happened the other night is part and parcel of what can happen everyday we put on a badge,” Adams said.

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  • Dave

    Where will this money come from? Will it come from reducing the pension packages of state police for the local police? Will it cause poor towns to go bankrupt as they’re forced to raise taxes on their low income residents? Will it become a welfare system where the ‘rich’ areas will subsidize the poor districts? And what rate will some legislator decide that a cop’s life is worth? Is $20/hour worth risking your life? What about volunteer fireman? Should that be done away with for forced wages? It’s a slippery slope….

  • Mike

    Their pay is equivalent to their education level. I do not have much respect for any one in any trade who pays for their education when they can get it for free at a state accredited school and have a job when they graduate. The public also benifits also. They get a officer who has been through a real police academy and not a community college training program where any one can get in as long as they can pay the tuition.

    • Dave

      Curious what your thoughts are on a local part-time cop with a college degree vs a state trooper without one? It was about 15 years ago that PA required college degrees for troopers, so before that they were also just h/s grads. My personal opinion is that any job is worth what the employer is offering if the applicant is willing to accept it.

    • mark

      um you can get into any state school if you have the money and most community colleges are free in the long run.

      • RNinTraining

        If community colleges are “free”, then why am I paying over $1000 a semester in addition to my financial aid? They are not free, they are not cheap, and not everyone has the ability to go to school. That is a very ignorant statement you have made.

  • redrock100

    use the money from welfare to give these guys a raise. simple

  • Don

    agreed, stop paying welfare to all these lazy sickening people and give it to the cops

    • Well Said

      Well said , these same people go out and party instead of raising their kids right and thus these kids grow up and shoot the Police Officers.

  • Mike

    Having a masters degree in math does not make you a good cop. Having a GED with the proper training you get from a proper Police Academy and a good feild traing officer does. Not having a collage degree will keep you from making cheif of police.

  • NoCrime InTheOaks

    Take the money from the people in the ad who can afford to live in Sherwood Oaks.

  • Barney Fife

    Make the politicians and the judges who let the career criminals off patrol the ghetto towns and neighborhoods. Oh, I forgot, their old, oversize bodies and bloated egos can’t clear the obstacle course at the police academy.

  • Luke

    I suppose 9.00 is too low, but how much is enough ? If 9.00 is too low to risk your life, will it be ok to do it for say 15.00 ? Or would 13.00 be ok ? No, no amount of money is actually “worth” risking ones life, that’s not really the point. So I gues the question should be, just like in any other business, how much are you willing to pay, to get good qualified help ? Keeping in mind, cops don’t actually “risk” their lives each and every day, all day long. But I suppose that on the rare occaison that they actually do, that would certainly be an issue. But how do yo put a price on it, any price, that would make it ok ? If a guy got paid 25.00 an hour, would he then say, risking my life is no problem now, because I am paid pretty good now ? Doubtful !

    • DeputyBill

      An officer don’t put his life on the job every day? When ever that badge is on he is open target. People who hate cops, drug dealers see them coming there way, or the half craze person who for some reason just kills a cop because he is wearing that badge. A lot of non respecters out there.

  • Paul

    How about reducing the salaries of the politicians at all levels of government, especially the federal level. I figure thoseindividuals make about 75K too much annually.

  • Lee

    My husband is a fire fighter and gets 10.00 an hour, and because he does not have full time status he also does not receive benefits. However, he loves his job and that is why he stays.

  • Matt

    Simple answer to this problem: Merger! If it wasn’t for all of the power hungry, greedy and filthy politicians and chiefs of police at the local levels, these small towns would merge into regionalized police departments. The police departments in Rankin and Braddock are less than a mile from each other, plus Swissvale, Edgewood, Whitaker, Duquesne, North Braddock and Braddock Hills are all very close. The officers are arresting the same people on a routine basis, merge them and other departments into the Mon Valley police and get them the funding they need to deliver quality police services!

  • Henry

    imj a security guard and make $11.50 an hr part time im looking to be an officer $9 hr is a slap to the face im sorry i do love the line of work im in i love law enforcment but i also would love that it provided enough for my family. I mean dam i love watching movies but watching movies doesnt pay the bills love doesnt pay bills

  • Mario Palias

    There are a lot of people making less than $9 an hour that are put in dangerous jobs. He has a good attitude towards his job, but if pay is a concern, there are other opportunities.

  • Darah Spencer

    was a firefighter for 4 years and I only got 8.23 and hour… my duties included running into buildings that were on fire…The guy is right… it isnt about money but we do have families

  • Chuck

    We put our line on the everyday in the military for less than that – why don’t you ever write about that?

    • C

      wat branch of the military pays less than 9$ an hour?

    • Ella

      And the military also receives paid housing, pay for additional family members, and fabulous health insurance. It may not add up to $50,000, but military is compensated well. Not to mention if you get out, you qualify for VA home loans and get veteran’s preference in hiring for many occupations. $9/hr doesn’t come anywhere close to paying for any of those things.

    • CynthiaUSNbrat

      FIRST, WE DO hear about our military not getting the best benefits and facilities. sheesh .I’m a Navy brat, my dad was a career mustang officer. I doubt very much any in the service today could look at salary and benefits and say they make less than $9.00/hr. When dad had reached a certain rate and through his commission we had housing, we had free access to health care, traveled to each duty station, etc. Sure, went he entered at the end of WWII he and mom had to live in some real dumps until he made rate, but I believe its better for dependents of ‘new’ enlistees. If you want to just count pay, since he was on board ship and/or out to sea most of the time and on call all the time, his pay worked out to about $2.00/hr at the time of his retirement as a Lt. Commander. HOWEVER, add in housing, etc. and it doesn’t compare to working for less than minimum, with no beneftis (health insurance!!!) Both groups place themselves in harms way for too little compensation.

    • Mark

      Ella, you are a little misinformed. While it may seem the military has all these nice benefits, nothing is free as far as their health care is concerned. I retired after 25 years and the amount of money I had to pay for my family added up to be thousands. While my health care may have been “free”, it was nothing to brag about as far as quality. Now that I am retired, I have the option to continue my health care with Tricare, but I choose to pay several hundreds of dollars each month to get the care both me and my family deserve. The housing allowance given to members is much less than needed to provide quality housing. Just do a google search and see how many of our lower ranking enlisted members are receiving food stamps just to feed their families and if they are in training for long periods of time, they lose their housing allowance because the allowance is for them, NOT their families. Plus, what people fail to remember is members of our military are on duty 24/7 and workiing 6 to 7 days a week during war time. Average it out and the pay doesn’t even come close to $9.00 per hour. Both the military and our police deserve better pay. They have more than earned it in blood, sweat and loss of life.

    • DANIEL


    • BMWBiker

      The military sends each servicemember a Compensation Statement at the end of each year stating the value of actual monies paid plus the value of additional benefits received. There’s no way you’re on less than double what these police officers are on. Do the math before claiming how hard-done by you are..

  • Navyvet8192

    I was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for 2 years. There was NO pay or benefits, and we had to commit to 20 hours minimum a month to be sworn law enforcement officers. I didn’t do it for money, I did it to make my community a better place for families to live. I’m sure many of the same people who are doing this job for $9.00/hr aren’t doing it with any notion of getting rich. They are doing it because they truly care about the people around them and are willing to lay it all on the line for their communities.

    • BDUB

      you were never a sworn law enforcement officer. tell me about the last arrest you ever made. probably can’t because you were never allowed to because you were not sworn to.

  • robert edwards

    Has a member of the public rich or poor whats you safely worth? Mines more than nine dollars an hour.

  • Rider83

    Cut the pay and benefits for all politicians and any over paid low level government employees and give it to the officers who protect the citizens!! Then remove all protection from the politicians as they can pay for their own protection!!! Everyone forgets the government is there to serve the people, not the other way around!!!!
    Thanks to the courts the politicians are nothing more than high priced prostitutes of the rich!!!

  • holly

    Just be happy you are EVEN working part time. THis is the NEW WORLD…. Just because in the past you made more money does not guarantee you will make the same or even more…. There are plenty of people waiting in line to have this job, 9 bucks or not!!!!!i

  • p

    I guess putting people to work at all is like charity from a billionaire’s point of view

  • Eileen Shawley

    The men and women who put their lives “on the line” deserve much more, whether part-time or full-time. We have entertainers (sports to politicians) bringing down mega bucks, Priorities have always been a problem in this country. Next on my list is our educators. We freeze the pay of those responsible for future generations? There is no hope for us.

  • p

    instead of cutting the goverment why dont we tax them for every job overseas for cost cutting. this is the count for the people(not for the sleazebag corporations)

  • Terence

    The scary thing about $9/hr is the type of person that you will get for that – the under qualified zealot who thinks he is knows what is right, yet has no life experience to temper it with.

  • David

    Part time substitute teachers make about 9-11 dollars and hour.. They don’t complain.. Their jobs are vitally important.. Part time jobs are not manditory so why complain about it. If you don’t want to do it don’t

  • db

    I think school teachers should read all of these comments to know how good they have it, If lived in anyone of these areas that do not have a police force, I would donate 500 hundred dollars a year to have a police force. Hey teachers I make 40,000 a year my wife is a stay home mom. We do 2 1 week vacations a year. We live with in our means. We do not have the yuppie mentality to over spend. The police deserve more and so do the firefighters and paramedics.

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