Issues Over Officer Pay Raises Leads To Tense Moments At Meeting

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

The issue of pay raises for Hazard police officers led to some tense moments at the city commission meeting.

Some officers say they can barely survive on their salary.

Mayor Bill Gorman says if they give officers a raise they would have to pay all city employees more and that would be impossible right now.

The Hazard Police Department says they were promised a raise after cutting back overtime for about two months.

Mayor Bill Gorman says the city never promised anything.

The city commission meeting turned into a yelling match as citizens found out there was no raise for Hazard police officers in the city budget.

City officials say the police department went more than 250,000 dollars over budget, and they asked them to make cuts.

Some former officers say it was those cuts that forced them to find work elsewhere.

“I think it's a shame that nobody can support their families working for the city. I don't think anywhere from 4 to 500 dollars every two weeks is suitable for putting your life on the line doing your job,” Former Officer Kyle Morgan said.

City officials would not comment on camera, but Mayor Gorman says he is happy the police department was able to stay under budget since their overtime was cut.

“I want the public to know that we are going to do anything and every thing we can to provide the most adequate services we have and we will continue to do so,” Chief Ronnie Bryant said.

Mayor Gorman says the city has a very good police department and he supports them.

“They are working as professionally as they can with their budget and all the restrictions that they have to provide the best services for the city, and city employees. We will continue working with them until we resolve our problems,” Chief Bryant said.

City officials say they may look at raises in the future for city employees, but right now, they can't afford to give it to them.

Officers say their colleagues in other eastern Kentucky cities do better.

The assistant police chief of the London Police Department says their officers start out at about 11 to 12 dollars per hour after they finish their time at the academy.

Hazard police officers make less than 9 dollars per hour after the academy.

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