Editor, I read the article (“Police to provide hospital security,” July 22, front page) with much disdain. Certainly, it’s a multilayered mistake that could easily be driven by the position that Mayor James Thomas holds on the Liberty County Hospital Authority.
Diverting police officers out of patrol is always a serious mistake. And in today’s environment, it could not be a worse time. Each day, we read of another sad event in America. We need every cop we have out there on patrol doing the job, not on a static indoor guard post that, if necessary, should be manned by a private security officer.
Further, there is an appearance that city taxpayers are subsidizing the county hospital. It costs a bunch more than $30 an hour to field a police officer. Salary, uniform allowance, equipment, training, hospitalization, retirement contribution and Social Security contribution will come to more than twice that figure for an entry-level pay-grade officer.
Additionally, this will have an adverse effect on morale within the Hinesville Police Department. This is the kind of assignment that no police officer likes. Really worrisome is the clause that the agreement may be expanded to include more hours and days.
This is just not the type of mission that our Police Department needs to undertake at this time. Things to do include increasing efforts on anti-terrorism, attacking our high burglary rate and increasing school security.
An interesting observation might be the number of priority calls per month to the hospital and the average patrol-response times. I strongly recommend that this agreement be revisited. This opens the city up to a very big “I told you so” down the road.