Protecting Charlestown families and citizens is one of the core pledges of my campaign. This pledge inspired my promise to fund and support the Charlestown Police Department in a community policing initiative that builds staff levels and increases the availability of officers on patrol. Charlestown has some of the finest officers protecting our families, and they deserve a level of support that matches their dedication and commitment to our community.
While it has been a relief to see the completion of the long-promised and significantly overdue new police station, we have a way to go before we can say that we’re providing our officers with the best resources for their very difficult jobs.
My plan to meet our community needs prioritizes:
raising police department staff levels to meet national standards
improving officer compensation to limit employee turnover
Currently our police department staffing falls significantly under national standards for a municipality of our size. According to the 2017 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, most municipalities employ 2.4 full-time officers for every 1,000 members of their population. Based on the most recent U.S. Census our population is approximately 8,200. This means we should employ 20 full-time police officers. Charlestown’s department is funded for 16 full-time officers and we currently only employ 13. Through proper financial management we can fund the additional positions needed to bring us up to national standards. This is especially important as we consider the two newly proposed annexations and planned subdivisions that will increase the burden on our existing officers.
One significant problem that affects our ability to hire and retain top-quality officers is that our current compensation package cannot compete with other departments in surrounding cities. On average, Charlestown’s current total compensation (salary and benefits) is $48,450. To offer competitive employment we must raise our officer’s salaries into closer alignment with other local agencies.
- Jeffersonville $72,393
- Clarksville $62,649
- Scottsburg $59,605
- Sellersburg $54,883
- Charlestown $48,450
In the last four years our department has witnessed an 81% turnover rate with 13 officers leaving to seek other employment. My plan to fully fund and support the Charlestown Police Department ensures that we have an appropriate number of officers on patrol and that we increase our officer retention.
A fully supported police department offers our community the safety we deserve. I am the only candidate for mayor who has a plan to raise our department staffing to meet national standards. It’s time Charlestown caught up to the rest of the nation, don’t you think?