Press Release From Cecil Co. FOP Lodge # 2 —–
The Cecil County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 2 would like to take this opportunity to respond and address issues the county commissioners raised in their recent opinion entitled, Some Facts About Collective Bargaining With Interest Arbitration For Deputy Sheriffs, found on the county website at http://www.ccgov.org.
Over the last three years, Cecil County sheriff’s deputies have pursued a more direct and honest dialogue with the county commissioners – one that promotes integrity. This was born over many years of neglect by the county as to what their number one priority should be: protecting its citizens. This goes way beyond inadequate pay and benefits and straight to the heart of the issue: with very few exceptions, the county has consistently viewed the sheriff’s office as a necessary evil and has funded it as such. In a county such as ours, it is outrageous that only 6 or 7 deputies per shift are expected to adequately patrol the county and keep bad guys at bay. The Town of Elkton has almost that many covering their town because they get it – is your family’s safety any less important? If we’re not aggressively pursuing more police coverage when violent crime goes up EACH YEAR, then are we at least going to invest in the deputies we do have? The county’s answer is, apparently, no.
Whenever deputies are told – even during prosperous years – that there is no extra money in the budget to keep their salaries comparable to neighboring jurisdictions but there is money to fund non-essential big-ticket projects, they’re told to “hang on ‘till next year.” Always next year. And if that doesn’t sit right with them, they’re told – like the recent online Whig comment – “You’re disgruntled. Go find a job somewhere else.” Is that what the citizens really want? Do they really want their deputies – professional police officers with years of experience and knowledge of this county and its citizens – to leave because they simply want to better their families? More than a few heard that message loud and clear and did just that.
In the last 10 years, no less than 32 deputies left the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office for better employment – and that’s just the law enforcement side! 32 deputies whose training, uniforms, and equipment YOU PAYED FOR left after getting their experience here and taking it to benefit citizens elsewhere. It’s a good bet that the Delaware State Police, New Castle County and Newark Police, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland State Police (to name but a few)
Quite frankly, it is in the citizens’ best interest to have a well funded and highly trained police force. Cops today deal with situations far removed from the days of locking up the town drunk for the night. Their work includes increasingly detailed investigations into complex issues involving identity theft, homicides, gangs, drugs, child predators, and abductions. In fact, recently a small child was abducted by a non-family member and sheriff’s deputies pulled together their resources with surrounding jurisdictions and worked tirelessly to put that small child in the arms of her mother within 10 HOURS! These are the dedicated professionals citizens have working for them. Please take the time to read and study the deputies’ side of this issue, compare them with the commissioner’s point of view, and decide for yourself whether Collective Bargaining with Binding Arbitration for sheriff’s deputies is right for Cecil County.