FOP Letter to the Editor

May 9, 2019

The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #7 for St. Mary’s County submitted the following letter to the editor:

Dear Commissioners of St. Mary’s County,

The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #7 for St. Mary’s County is writing you this letter to address the issue of the pay disparity between our agency, the Maryland State Police, the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. In the coming years, the MSP, PGPD and CCSO are slated to receive significant raises, which will drastically increase the already established pay disparity of 4.5-6.25% that was discovered during the pay study of 2018. In comparison, the current 2020 budget shows that the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office will only receive a 4% raise over the next three years.

It is the concern of the FOP Board, as well as the FOP’s 200 members and their families, the majority of whom reside in St. Mary’s County, that the pay disparity will negatively impact the SMCSO. Currently, the SMCSO for the first time in several years is on the cusp of being fully staffed. If our pay does not remain competitive with the surrounding jurisdictions, the FOP fears that the SMCSO we will lose exceptional officers to the higher paying agencies that surround us. This has been proven to be the case in past years with the loss of 26 Deputies and Correctional Officers (who transitioned to police) primarily due to salary. This is according to these employees’ exit interviews. In essence, the SMCSO and the taxpayers of St. Mary’s County will be responsible for paying to send new officers through the costly and vigorous training only to see them leave after realizing a nearby jurisdiction is paying more for the same requirements. In summary, the SMCSO will be unable to attract, recruit and retain officers if our pay is not competitive.

The FOP and its members understand the difficult job you, the Commissioners, have in effectively allocating money. It is our hope with the increase tax budget in 2020 that the pay for the men and woman of the SMCSO will reflect the hard work that they do, as well as the dedication they have to provide safety to the citizens of St. Mary’s County.

The FOP Board of Directors