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LETTER: "Blood started to boil"

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By The Staff

As I approach the fifth anniversary of my retirement from the Taylorsville Police Department, my blood has started to boil somewhat over the article on March 17, 2010, concerning Hazardous Duty Retirement.

The suggestion Mr. Drury made concerning a portion of the employees’ funds be “invested in Kentucky Deferred Compensation and purchase insurance polices that could perform as good or better than hazardous-duty retirement” is absolutely ludicrous.

That would set our county back 30 years instead of taking us toward the future development of the safety and security of its citizens. I can’t think of any place I would want to invest my future while the market is so volatile. That would be quite a gamble with county funds, employee funds and our emergency personnel’s future. They work for the county and the people, not for themselves. They should be taken care of on a high-priority list. Those who govern us also work for the people.

Mr Drury (a magistrate  who is running for county judge executive) cannot possibly mean what it appears. What makes us think that he or any of the ideas that he proposes will work. He has been a magistrate for a number of years, (as others have) and all I can see is that the county is still strapped for money.

If he can’t help get the county budget balanced and stable, I don’t think he will be able to find the funds to take care of those people we call on to risk their lives, as we hire them in the future.

What person would stay in a job where someone got better retirement than the other just because they were hired at a later date.

Ever have to fight with a drunk? Ever sidestep a passing motorist while you direct school traffic? Ever get a call to go to someone’s place who has a gun, and who points it at you? Ever break up a fight between a husband and wife? I could go on and on, but I’m sure the answer would be no.

The 20 years I was with Taylorsville Police, I fought to get Hazardous-Duty Retirement for a number of reasons. One of them is that you can have a higher number (and quality) of officer candidates to choose from when hiring – instead of hiring a cop wanna-be off the streets.

If my memory serves me correctly, we had no training, court time, holiday pay, nor hazardous duty pay.Many of you will remember how many police officers we went thru back when.

I told our commissioners that the day is coming when all police will be required to have training. Guess what, the day came. Prior to this, we hired many. They would get their training and within a short time go to where not only the pay was better, but where they had Hazardous- Duty Retirement. That officer was thinking of his future and his family.

Taylorsville’s commissioners updated us to the standards of most communities throughout the country, and brought our little city up to standards that made larger cities envious of what our officers were receiving. (Not pay, but equipment and Hazardous-Duty Retirement.)

I don’t know if you remember, but we had only one cruiser, a used shotgun and one two-way radio to share. That wasn’t thinking about tomorrow. Now officers know that they have the most up-to-date equipment possible due to some hard work, sweat and tears.

It takes a special kind of person to work in a small community where the pay isn’t the greatest, but that it is known that when a person puts in his time as a police officer, or emergency personnel, he is rewarded by a retirement system that he will be able to live without getting a second job just to feed his family or provide for their future.

I only wished I had been able to have 20 years Hazardous - Duty Retirement, rather than the 5 years I do have. The other years are at a non-hazardous lower rate. I was thinking of standing on the corner with a sign that says, “will dance for donuts”.

It is possible that just as the whole country is dissatisfied with many of the leaders we’ve had for years.., that many communities are tired of heading backwards.

Sorry Mr Drury, when I vote, I will be voting for the future, not an advance to the rear. We need someone who is going to be a problem-solver, not part of the problem. That goes for all who are running for office.

May God bless our emergency responders and keep them safe. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Mike Villanova

retired Taylorsville Police Chief