First responder raises well deserved

Published 6:59 am Thursday, May 21, 2020

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On June 1, City of Lanett Police, Fire and EMS personnel will enjoy a little bump in their paychecks as the Lanett City Council approved significant pay raises for first responders.

In “normal” times, the job these men and women do can be incredibly challenging, not to mention dangerous. However, since mid-March, their jobs have become infinitely more challenging.

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While the rest of us hunkered down in our homes and set up makeshift offices, restaurants closed dining rooms and installed plexiglass barriers between workers and customers, these men and women reported to work as if nothing had changed in the world.  Unfortunately, crimes, fire and health emergencies do not slow down during Safe at Home orders.

Mayor Kyle McCoy said that the city’s police officers, firemen and EMS personnel were much deserving of salary increases.

“They do their jobs while taking the risk of contracting diseases such as COVID-19,” he said. “They not only suffer themselves but also potentially expose their families to harm. Even if provided strong safety protections, they are still taking a risk and these risks should be adequately rewarded. Thank you, guys, for being here and everything you do to keep us safe.”

We always hear about the dangers of these jobs, but what we do not talk about enough is the other things these men and women do for our community. They serve as mentors and role models to the children in our community. Even if they don’t look at it that way, they are. In the eyes of young, impressionable eyes, police, fire and EMS workers are superheroes.

They are indeed heroes and should be compensated as such.

While the raises are significant — up to $4 more per hour in some cases — it is still not enough for the work they are asked to do, but this is a step in the right direction and will keep the city of Lanett competitive with other departments in our surrounding area.