Serving the public since 1999. All opinions expressed are my own and any resemblance to an actual opinion is purely coincidental.
Dear Chairman Bulova,
I ask for your patience, as I need to write a few lines to introduce myself. I am a Virginia native who moved to Fairfax County in 1990, and I accepted a position with the Fairfax County Police Department in 1999. At that time, I took a several thousand dollar cut in pay to become a police officer, so I readily admit that I did not choose this career for the money. It is for that reason that I have never before written a letter to you about our police salaries.
So why am I writing today? I am writing because I am alarmed at how the pay situation is affecting the overall quality of the department and threatens to destroy the reputation that we have spent decades to build.
I am alarmed at how many junior officers I see seeking and accepting job offers elsewhere, as they are the working “backbone” of the department. I am alarmed at how many senior officers are choosing early retirement so that they can begin a second career sooner, as they are the experience and wisdom of the department. And I am especially alarmed at the number of our new hires who get recruited away by other agencies even before they take their seats at our police academy, as they are literally the future of our department.
“You get what you pay for” is a saying we all have heard countless times. Losing the best and the brightest at all ranks because we do not pay them fairly threatens the overall quality of the department and risks all the prior decades of investment in the professionalism and reputation of the department. As one of our community leaders, I urge you to save our police department!
Thank you for your attention and I appreciate your time.
William M. “Bud” Walker, Jr.
Braddock District Resident of Fairfax County