They got their point across. The controversy over pay for Jonesboro police officers reached a fever pitch this week when 23 JPD officers parked their "take home" cars in the parking lot at city hall along with a note for the Mayor.
The "park-in" was a protest over pay and the fact that a lot of officers feel the city shouldn't count JPD take home cars as a benefit that makes up for lower income. The right to peaceful protest is as American as apple pie, and I applaud the officers for letting the world know how they feel, but there was a missed opportunity.
The fact that Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott was blindsided sent a message of division among the people who are sworn to serve and protect. Whether the officers agree with him or not, he is their leader and deserved to know what was going on even if it was too late to stop it.
Now, the officers have their attention. So what's next?
The key word here is unity. The city needs to take action now and police officers have to be willing to sit down and talk with city leaders.
There is a committee that was formed to address pay issues for city employees. The longer the city waits for a committee that obviously hasn't solved the problem, the worse this is going to get.
The worse it gets, the lower the morale gets and more police officers will leave for higher paying jobs. That is tough news for the citizens of Jonesboro and all of Region 8.
Both sides communicating directly with each other, using this as a chance to fix things and finding unity will help put more officers on the street, keep the ones we have and make this A Better Region 8.
- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP & General Manager
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