Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chron.com | HPD officer's pay tops $172,000

Chron.com | HPD officer's pay tops $172,000

All I can say is: more power to them!

Since when is it a crime to work your blue butt off and get paid for it? I guarandamnteeit that the Harris County guys who work equally as hard would give their Sam Brown's up for a chance at that kind of dough.

The DWI task force works out of downtown Houston and guess what else is in downtown Houston? Bars out the wahzoo. They are so proud of making Houston central some sort of hot spot for party animals and then they wonder about the police busting idiots for driving drunk. Hello? Why not get mad at the bull when the matador waves a red flag in his snout?

Why not write articles about how simple it is to not get a DWI if you don't drink and drive? Could it be that doesn't stir up enough hate against the police and hate sells ink? Could it be that the sniveling defense attorneys, who the Chronicle is so quick to quote with their negative quips against the police, would be crying about losing their own revenue if their customers suddenly wised up and got sober or, or at least, called a cab to get home?

That's a silly, silly article and when it makes the front page of the Chronicle on a Sunday edition it's provided solely as a means to stir up hate. Hate kills cops. Cops work for their pay. Some cops get paid overtime for working, guess what, OVERTIME. I don't see the problem at all. It's called earning a living last time I checked.

And just so you won't think I'm too old to party..... I'm guilty of driving after drinking myself and it's just sheer blind luck that I didn't get popped too, but I'm not to old to change my evil ways and I hope I did just that. I'm not saying don't drink, I'm saying don't be surprised if they don't light you up when you do.

BTW, I've met one of those DWI guys, and he's got about 25 kids to support so he's not exactly living the life a single guy with only a cat to feed. He is passionate about his work too and believes in what he's doing and I for one, thank him and all the others for bustin' their blue cans and keeping the streets just a little bit safer for us all.

10 comments:

Attila The Mom said...

This is such a fabulous post, and I agree with every word!

I caught some stupid show in the middle of the night last week, and Andrew Dice Clay was bemoaning the loss of his career and talked about dropping 1/2 a mil at the gambling tables.

Like we should feel bad for the Diceman.

It would take most of our men and women in uniform 10 YEARS to earn that kind of dough--but they'd never see it at one time.

It just baffles the mind.

TxGoodie said...

Thanks. I get so mad at stuff like that esp. when it involves people who are only trying to do their jobs and they get hammered for doing it well. I got carried away with my point and hit on pretty much EVERY point I've ever tried to make....hehehe...the downside of furor, no doubt!

Nikki said...

Wow Texas! Great Post! I totally agree with every word you have said! Keep on giving it to 'em!

Miss Litzi said...

Hi TxGoodie,

Your post is fantastic! I’ve got another group to add to the overpaid and unproductive lot; pro athletics. I realize most professional sports require a lot of training and stamina, not to mention the physical toll on the body. But, when you read about multi-million dollar contracts for baseball, football or basketball players, it makes you wonder where our priorities are these days. I’d rather see the police and firefighters make a decent living wage than Barry Bonds continue to rake in the bucks year after year. Of course, he’s going to need some of his millions to defend himself against his “alleged” steroid abuse.

Lainey said...

Right On, TxGoodie!

That article made me so mad I wanted to spit!

The Houston Chronicle is a waste of my time and money!

TxGoodie said...

I rode with that DWI officer I spoke of and got to watch them processing people suspected of driving drunk and it takes HOURS for the processing. Then hours for the paperwork and booking, etc. When the case gets to court, the cops don't just get a phone call to show up for their turn to speak, they have to sit around for additional HOURS waiting to be called into the courtroom, etc. Most of the time those same attorneys that are bellyaching are expert at putting the cases off so the officers have to go through the whole "game" again. Maybe many times for the one case before it's brought to a conclusion and all that time means money for the police in court. I don't know about the other law enforcement agencies, but HPD pays well as the article pointed out. One of my points was that the Sheriff's Deputies in Harris County don't get overtime pay for court duty, they get comp time and that's all well and good, but they would like some cold hard cash too!

For sure we pay the sports figures and other "celebrities" obscene amounts of money and then expect our policemen, firemen, and teachers to work for peanuts. Sigh.

Kathy said...

Kudos for a great post!

Houston isn't the only place where police officers work lots of overtime. Usually this is for one of two reasons, or sometimes for both reasons.

First, police officers are paid peanuts for the work that they do. It's near impossible for them to raise families on what they are paid. Overtime, which keeps they away from their family longer, is the way for them to make a little more money.

Second, many departments are understaffed, causing officers to need to work overtime, whether they want to or not, just to protect their jurisdiction. Anyone who wants to argue about cops making too much in overtime needs to spend just a few hours protecting and serving the way police officers proudly do.

Police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, Nurses... I applaud the work they do and appreciate that they are there to help if I should need them. I hope the person who wrote the original article never needs the assistance of a cop in Houston, and finds that there aren't any available, because they had already worked too much overtime.

Anonymous said...

Edie,

I agree the money is well spent, and that we don't pay our police what they deserve. Our priorities are truly messed up if we pay athletes millions but underpay our military, police, emergency workers, fire, teachers (sorry if I left anyone out)

But $172k, of which $100k is overtime? (based on an estimate of 72k, which I guess his rank might earn) His hourly rate is $34 an hour. His time and a half rate would thus be $52 an hour. If you divide $52 into 100k you get 1925 hours.

260 work days per year. That's 7.5 hours of over time each work day.

That is a lot of overtime.

That has got to be mentally and physically punishing to the man. I don't think either his or the public's welfare is being met here.

Don

Anonymous said...

Don,
the toll you speak of is real but 2005 was an exceptional year for officers in this area. Bill gets paid a fair OT rate and made many sacrifices but much of his OT for the year had little to do with DWI's. There were several large scale OT projects, paid by the Feds, dealing with the Hurricane victims. The Reliant Stadium program alone had many officers working double shifts with the Port Arthur (or was it Port Aransas?) OT netting many of them multiple ten hour shifts.

If anything though, the court component of the OT was the most restful. Harris County District Attornies, not concerned in the slightest with city finances, will often subpoena every officer that touched a case. They have every right to decide which ones they need and which ones they don't but typically play it safe by forcing all the officers in at the same time.

The article made it sound like officers were padding their stats or getting extra OT by working with others but in reality, there are safety reasons for doing so as well as the specific areas of expertise (some are DRE/Drug Recognition certified while others are not, some operate the intoxilyzer machine, and others videotape the suspect). The larger the dept, the more efficient the division of labor makes such a process and while I have plenty of respect for DPS Troopers, most of them handle a rare DWI (and take far longer to do so with substantially weaker cases).

When the Task Force officers are forced by subpoena to sit in the courthouse on their off days and when they are not on their regularly scheduled duty (night shift), it makes sense that they are compensated for being there. There are some who would claim this provides an incentive for the officers to engage in misconduct but the worse abuses of the system are the courts (particularly the defense attornies) who reset the cases over and over again, hoping to "break the chain" and find one of the officers on vacation, injured on duty, or otherwise unable to attend. For all of their sly comments, they know full well the stresses on the officers and seek to do anything in their power to discredit them based on anything but the actual facts of the case.

The up side for guys like Bill is that when they are on court OT, they are allowed to rest in the courthouse. This tends to be the majority of rest they get so in a sense, getting a lot of court time is actually a positive experience for them (outside of the money). It still messes with their family lives (most have multiple divorces) but again, 2005 was a "special" year and few officers worked as much as Bill, Bryan and their group.
Don "the other white meat"

PS: Yes, I've lived the lifestyle myself and the toll is real but the rewards of saving lives are simply too great to ignore (and the pay is good too). :)

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