Workers for the Department of Water and Power recently won a 9% pay increase over four years, amounting to about $50 million. Los Angeles police officers are seeking a comparable increase in their wages. How do you feel about their demands?
* Rick Neal, private investigator
As a taxpayer I would say that the economy is in a state where we can't afford to pay them more, notwithstanding the fact that they probably deserve a raise like the rest of us. I would think that with the city being in the position it's in today, they (the police officers) would just do their jobs and wait until we're in a better financial position.
* Brooke Procida, \o7 USC theater major
I think the LAPD has a real hard job. I think that they're probably righteous in asking for a pay raise. Without knowing all the little details I can't say I would be actually in favor of doing it but I do think they are right in asking because of the nature of their job and because of what's been happening recently here in L.A. I came here from New York and people have this image of New York as being a hard place, but L.A. is very different from New York in a scary kind of way. There's a lot of fear in this city and I think the LAPD takes all the pressure and all the stress from people. I also think they are getting treated more negatively because of their action--or inaction--during the riots.
* Nola-Marie Mott, \o7 community activist
I believe the officers deserve a pay raise. I think they do an incredible job under very trying circumstances. I'm familiar with officers in the Rampart Division and they do their jobs in a way that is above-and-beyond the call of duty. Higher compensation is thoroughly justified. The city has to find a way to better provide for these employees.
* Karol Heppe, \o7 executive director, Police Watch, a nonprofit support group for victims of police abuse\f7
Generally, we are supportive of pay raises along with the demands of other workers. However, one concern is that blanket pay raises without regard to an individual's performance does nothing to discourage poor performance and reward superior performance. Police Watch is concerned that by not linking job performance--in particular a review of the number of citizen complaints filed against an officer--to employee benefits and promotability, police misconduct, abuse and excessive use of force will go unabated and may be seen as rewarded by blanket pay raises. It is also a conflict to reward pay raises to a department which has recently been found to be, for all intents and purposes, out-of-control and inordinately slow to reform itself.