Bill Would Boost Pay For Police Officers

BRADDOCK (KDKA) — They put their lives on the line for their towns every day and night, but police officers in the Mon Valley can’t make a living wage.

Some make as little as $9 an hour and have no health insurance; but KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan reports that one state lawmaker wants to change all that.

While arresting a known prostitute and drug addict, Braddock Officer Brian Stotlemeyer reached into her boot where she had stuffed a crack pipe. The suspect kicked him, and the jagged edge of the pipe stuck him in the finger.

“The fact that I don’t know what diseases she might have. I just got stuck in the finger with a crack pipe she’d just been using,” he said.

For the next six months, Stotlemyer will be on regimen of anti-viral medication to defend against hepatitis and other diseases. However, as a part-timer, he has no health insurance. Even in healthiest of times, his salary of $10.10 an hour isn’t enough to live on.

“If it wasn’t for my fiancée, I wouldn’t be able to keep my house right now,” he said.

But like other public officials in the Mon Valley, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman can’t afford to pay Stotlemeyer and his fellow officers a decent wage or give them health insurance.

“We have courageous men and women out here that risk everything for what you could make at a cashier’s job at The Waterfront, and that’s just wrong on so many levels,” he said.

The plight of part-time, uninsured and underpaid police officers has scratched its way into public consciousness with the near fatal shooting of Clairton Officer James Kuzak, whose town couldn’t offer him full-time work or living wage.

Now, former McKeesport mayor and State Sen. James Brewster is introducing a bill to establish a minimum pay for police and have the state make up the difference.

“If a local community can afford $10 an hour and the floor limit is 15, I’ve got to find $5,” he said.

Brewster says he believes virtually no one in the legislature will find fault in this bill – the problem will be finding the money in cash-strapped Harrisburg.

He’s proposing an increase in fees for state traffic violations or other offenses, but Fetterman says the money must be found.

“At a minimum, they need a living wage,” said Fetterman. They deserve a good salary with good benefits, but at a minimum the legislature needs to deliver a living wage for these men and women.”

Regardless, Stotlemayer remains committed with hopes for the future.

“I love this job; I want to do it, want to keep doing it,” he said.

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  • Justice

    in my opinion State Sen. James Brewster is a joke who was catapulted to the senate from falsely arressting the residents of Crawford Village for rent fraud via suppressed evidence, fudged numbers, re-arranged work history and move in dates. If you sit on the seat of the Crawford Village rent office then how is this nonsense going on year after year on your watch. I saw his friends Sheriff Brian Washowitz and Agent William Foley talking to a defendants lawyer which is unethical and also heard Washowitz invite this same lawyer out to golf. The man is riding dirty which is not unusual for a Senator but to step on poor people when you are poor yourself is low.

  • Tim

    Obviously police are important, but we don’t need laws dictating what people are worth. Another example of too much gvt intervention.

  • JaundicedEye

    There is already a solution to the problem:CONSOLIDATION. Unfortunately, the power-hungry leaders of the nearby Mon-Valley communities have no interest in working together, just for themselves – no interest in actually improving their communities, just running them into the ground. These people have too much ego to work together. One of the communities actually has the president of the FOP as their ‘public safety director”, and who has done nothing to fight to better the working conditions of his own part-time officers. However he did fight to allow part-timers into the FOP, so more dues could be obtained of course. Obviously this senator sees photo ops and an election platform on the backs of these hard-working officers.

    • J.D.

      This is an educated and informed post by you.. good job. Consolidation of these towns and its services MUST happen. Spread the property taxes out, instead of trying to rely on these small jurisdictions who clearly cannot afford to adequately fund and equip its own emergency services. Dont be shocked when these small departments cannot get applicants anymore, and any applicants who do apply might have a shady background. Law Enforcement is a profession, not a hobby. You are stupid to do this at low pay and no benefits.

      • j.d.

        OH.. and shame on the FOP.. shame shame shame. I am very disappointed in that organization. They have done nothing for the abusive use of part time Police. It took then years just to let part time Police join the union. So now, a part time officer can join the FOP but only under the condition that your primary job is.. well.. a part time Police Officer. So you can join, but only if you allow yourself to be underpaid, and no benefits.. this is a dangerous profession and requires benefits. Health risks galore in this profession.. do something about it.. oh and again.. shame on the FOP.. I would never join that organization if I was a Police Officer until they start acting like a union.

  • yabad

    get rid of part time, have the allegheny police patrol those area instead of the parks, airport.

  • M

    Police officers work hard for a living we like them when we need help but if we don’t need help the disrespect comes in, they need more money.

  • Lori

    We need to support our local police officers. They are doing a dangerous job while keeping us safe and they deserve higher wages and health insurance! It’s ridiculous that they are getting paid the same rate as a Wal*Mart worker.

  • Dan

    this is a sad sad time in the world, we can send all kinds of money over to help Japan and other countries, but we have brave people working their butts off to just try and make it and nobody helps…its time to take care of our own!

  • glad he is gone

    I heard about the Crawford Village rent fraud scam too, Mayor Brewster kept his nose and hands clean so HUD housing will never investigate it. He might have told the rent office employees what to do but he never actually signed anything so he will never be caught, just my opinion too. By the way I like the riding dirty reference.

  • D. Trimble

    Hey Justice in my opinion it was det. turned police chief Bryan Washawich and agent Rene Febbles who helped the then Mayor Jimmy Brewster pull off the Crawford Village rent fraud scheme to get him to the Senate.
    Agent Foley was just a pool boy bringing up the rear with no real power. Most of the fasely arrested people were charged for the past tenants rent who had not lived in the apartment for maybe one or twe years, sad but there is nothing anyone can do.

  • D. Trimble

    Officer Stotlemeyer if my daughter or son wanted to be a police officer I would let them because you are an inspiration to young people who refuse to let life get them down.

    • B. Stotlemyer-Braddock Police Dept.

      Thank you,
      Like so many men and women who put on the uniform and go into work everyday I know the risk of injury is there, but I love my job and love what I do. I work with so many great officers who put there life on the line each and everyday. And I do hope for the day to come when I can earn a good living doing my job, however my pay rate will never stop me from doing my best each and every day….!

  • No Name

    The problem in the Mon Valley is all the power hungry politicians in the area. There is no reason for twenty different municipalities within a five mile radius. Allegheny County I believe has more police departments than any other county in the nation, most of which are part-time. The solution to this is to merge departments and regionalize. Regionalization would allow officers to be full time with benefits. To clarify there is one department that regionalized and is still all part-time because they missed the whole point. I am talking about regionalizing into all full time with benefits.

    Whether you like the police or not if you are being robbed by five others in an area covered by a part-time department with one officer on duty at the time (common in the Mon Valley) making about ten dollars an hour with no immediate back up available. How much do you think the officer is going to want to do to help you? Do you think they will see that as a situation to risk their life over?

    West Homestead, Homestead, Munhall and Whitaker are all on the same channel and should all be one department. At one time they had three different dispatchers on the same channel. That makes no sense.

    Another problem in the area is that departments that have full time thinks it will be a good idea to start hiring on part-timers to save money instead of another full time officer. This just recently was authorized in Forrest Hills against the officers wishes.

    To all the mayors and councilmen in the Mon Valley who fail to either merge and correct the problem or make all officers full time with benefits because you want to have your measly power, you are not supported by the officers. NO MORE EXCUSES.

  • Bill Would Boost Pay For Police Officers | Again?

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  • Bill Would Boost Pay For Police Officers | HBA Health Insurance

    […] every day and night, but police officers in the Mon Valley can not make a living wage. Read more on CBS Pittsburgh budget cuts and opposed the revised plan adds more Hearing witnesses to help the poor want […]

  • chatty

    I alway’s wondered how Jimmy Brester went from Mayor to the Senate overnight because he and his friends alway’s hung out at that bar on Grandview Ave. It’s hard to believe he got any work done. I never did like politics it stinks!

  • Teller

    Police officers should be made full-time with benefits after a certain amount of months end of story and Brewster should be censured by his peers (low class bums) or let go if the accusations are true.

  • J.D.

    Look, enact legislation that makes the use of part time Police Officers unappealing, not practical and uneconomical. Legislators have plenty of examples to use from other states who have part time police, the only difference is, those states specifically define what a part time Police Officer is, they define their limited arrest powers only giving them ‘support’ duties to the full time officers, and they limit their work hours. Not only do the legislators needs to over haul the law regarding Police Officer Employment, but they also need to update the Civil Service Laws. No officer should be conducting Law Enforcement duties without Civil Service protections and the law needs to be fair when it comes to hiring Police, especially the hiring or promoting of part time officers to full time from within the agency.

  • FBrackenridgePD

    Well then find another line of work!!

    If these guys were born with such a hard-on to be drug warriors on the front lines that they’re willing to work for 9$ a hour, that’s their own stupidity.

    Most of them would do it for free just to have power over their fellow man and if it weren’t for work, would just be at home, dressed in their tactical raid gear, wacking off while drooling over old law enforcement supply catalogs…

  • Corruption

    In my opinion to, I also heard about Sen. Brewsters involvement in the crawford village rent fraud situation because of the complaints about his friends intervening and kicking cases from McKeespot to make sure the people had no other option but to pay ridiculous fee’s for their court cases in Pittsburgh that never made it to court. I think it was unethical for his friends to have secret meetings with the defending lawyers and very unethical for these same lawyers to sell out their clients and not give their money back. It’s police officers like that that give the Brotherhood a bad name and make officers like Stoltemeyer have to fight harder for his right to live.

  • Jenna_PD

    @FBrackenridgePD – sounds to me like you probably have a criminal record. Congratulations.

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