St. John officers deserve pay raise

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

You are only as good as your people.

It’s a well-known saying, and one that any business owner knows.

Apparently it’s something that St. John Sheriff Wayne Jones recognizes as well, and undoubtedly it had something to do with his announcement this week that all officers on his force will be receiving a 5 percent pay raise.

The Sheriff’s Office will be absorbing 5 percent of the pay each officer puts into his or her pension fund each month, which will cost Jones $800,000 from his budget to pay for the increase.

But clearly there could not be a better way to spend the money.

Jones made the announcement on Tuesday, as he was inaugurated to begin his fourth term, before a large crowd in front of the Percy C. Hebert Building.

And clearly that is the best way to keep a strong force intact and happy.

The St. John Sheriff’s Office has done a good job keeping crime under control in this parish under Jones’ watch. Yes, there are pockets of crime that need extra attention, and that is why there was a move last year to open a substation in the Garyville area to put more officers on the street.

But crime statistics under Jones’ time in office have clearly shown, according to official FBI numbers, that crime has actually gone down in St. John, even as the population has gone up.

That is a credit to Jones’ leadership, but more so, to the men and women who are on the streets everyday, and to those working behind the scenes in the investigative areas, to make sure rapid arrests are made when crimes are committed.

As Jones heads into his fourth term, we believe he is a solid leader for the law enforcement force in St. John Parish, but a man who will only be as good as the men and women who serve with him.

That’s why the move to make a pay increase for the officers a top priority was the right administrative decision, and one that will keep the best officers in St. John right where they are.