Police salaries discussed at Committee Meeting

Police salaries discussed at Committee Meeting

Voorhees Township Police Department salaries, skills and services were a topic of discussion at the March 12 meeting. Resident Bill Robins shared his thoughts with the governing body about the police force, citing that he believes officers are overpaid and sit idle too frequently.

“It is not necessary to have police officers driving around in big trucks. With the price of gasoline today, police officers should not be allowed to ride in trucks and have them sit idle for hours,” Robbins said, according to the meeting minutes from March 12. “The biggest thing is that we cannot have police officers who have only been on the job eight or nine years making $109,000 a year. That’s crazy. Voorhees is going to become a ghost town. I can tell you, I am not going to stay here and pay them $109,000 a year. It’s ridiculous.”

Voorhees Police Chief Keith Hummel said there are nine salary steps. The final step, senior officers, receive $102,034 in compensation every year as of 2012. These members of the police department must have at least 15 years with the department to be eligible for the salary.

Hummel added that a very small number of officers receive more than the top salary, since officers used to get longevity pay. Many officers, he added, are at step seven, which compensates the officer at $99,062.

At the April 23 meeting, resident and retired Voorhees cop Bob Monahan said he wanted to clear the air about the comments made previously about the police department.

“The comments directed to the police department were uncalled for,” Monahan said. “I worked her 26 years and my salary was nowhere near $109,000.”
He added that officers who sit idle are not necessarily working less; they’re simply doing their job, he said.

“Were doing more with less. And police cars around town — that’s the first step in crime prevention,” Monahan said.

At the March 12 meeting, Township Manager Larry Spellman discussed a few ways to reduce police expenses, including e-ticketing and red light cameras.

Spellman said the township has filed an application with the state for a red light camera and awaits approval.

Robbins, at the March 12, meeting, said there was no comparison between the work of the Voorhees Police Department as compared to Philadelphia Police Department.

“Let me tell you something, police officers in Philadelphia are not making $109,000 a year and their jobs are a hell of a lot more riskier that ever, ever, will happen in this town,” Robbins said at the March 12 meeting. “I just want to make that known because we can’t be paying these guys that kind of money. It’s ludicrous.”

Monahan debated Robbins’ comments from the March 12 meeting, stating to the committee that Voorhees police work just as hard as any other police force.

Monahan made mention of two officers who were present that evening at the April 23 meeting, who were involved with the tragic murder-suicide on Centennial Drive just weeks prior.

“The officers here tonight are keeping Voorhees safe so we don’t have to,” Monahan said. “We’re very proud of they way they acted. I have been saying this for a long time: Voorhees has not only the best police department in South Jersey, but the best in the state.”

Deputy Mayor Harry Platt and other committee members chimed in about the work the township’s police force provides.

“The officers take their jobs very seriously,” Platt said.

Monahan said he spoke up at the committee meeting to help set the record straight for residents.

“The salary, he (Bill Robbins) was making generalizations that just aren’t right,” Monahan said. “They’re not a reactive police department, they’re proactive and being proactive decreases crimes.”