RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ)- Talks about giving Richmond Police officers more money weren’t more than that Tuesday as commissioners decided on another meeting date to help them decide on a proposal.
Before that decision was made, another decision by Richmond’s mayor, Jim Barnes had interim police chief Bob Mott asking on-duty officers to hit the streets.
“Well, they get paid to be out in the street, not sitting,” says Mayor Barnes. When asked if they deserved to be involved in the discussion about their pay, or if there was a need for them to be involved, the mayor said ‘no’.
For Commissioner Robert Blythe, a strong supporter of the pay raise, the issue comes down to public safety, emergency response times, and retaining officers.
“There’s some things we could talk about that would help us move forward,” says Blythe. He, along with other commissioners hope more information in the next special called meeting will help them do just that.
Blythe’s support is backed by the Ellis Coalition.
Last year, Officer Daniel Ellis was killed in the line of duty. The coalition formed in his name looks to promote and protect police interests.
“We have hired some officers,” says coalition president David Gannon. “But to keep officers you’ve got to be able to make sure you’re taking care of them.”
As for Mayor Jim Barnes, he says he’s not against giving the officers more money. He admits they deserve it but points out it’s also his responsibility to keep the financial interests of the city in mind.
“Our revenue is what it is and we have to manage the expenses within that revenue boundary,” says Barnes. “We need to look forward and what we can do to make our communities safer and it’s not just giving higher salaries, it’s getting more police officers, better training, and making sure the incident that happened last year doesn’t happen again.”