Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi A Modest Cop Bonus Plan

By Cap'n O

DECEMBER 22, 1997:  Albuquerque police deserved the 15 percent pay raise that former Mayor Spend Everything gave them last year. Cops have one of the hardest jobs in society. It's not easy to put a positive spin on a program of population control by police killings.

Don't shoot! It's just a joke.

Their job is hard and it is one of the most crucial jobs in society. Balancing the need for force and authority with constitutional rights is demanding and stressful, especially when a piece of human garbage wants to kill you.

But cops don't deserve all of the automatic perks they get now, such as take-home cars. They should work five-day weeks, not four. And we need civilian oversight of the police department.

Mayor Jim Baca is now finding that he has to back off of campaign promises to give cops back their four-day work week and to give them input into the hiring of a new police chief. He's also thinking of limiting take-home cars to beat officers who live in the city. Alex Marentes, head of the police union, is angry about the reneging. Baca was in office a whole five days when Marentes threatened to fight his re-election bid, which, if it comes, is 1,440 days away. The threat is silly, considering the police union's political record. The union threw its vast political might behind Dave Cargo in the last mayoral election. He came in an embarrassing third.

Baca should not have made those promises. The city can't afford them. The four-day work week is ridiculous. Almost no one else gets it. We need cops on the streets, not at home sleeping. But there is a way to improve the police department and public safety while giving cops some of their precious perks. We should set up an incentive program for cops. If they want perks, they'll have to work for them. Some ideas:

  • A few extra vacation days and a brand new big gun for officers who can spell "United States Constitution." Immediate and lucrative retirement for those officers who have read the Constitution just once.

  • A few days off or a one-time bonus for officers who, in a barricade or standoff situation, disable a threatening person by firing a bean-bag round instead of bullets. There are no bonuses for hitting old ladies in wheel chairs.

  • Award take-home cars one year at a time. To qualify, officers have to get As in constitutional law classes. A lesser grade won't make it. Officers would have to requalify every year by taking classes in different areas of constitutional law.

  • An extra day off for officers who successfully complete "verbal judo" classes.

  • A hefty bonus for officers who go a certain number of years without an internal affairs complaint or lawsuit filed against them. This is obnoxious and is like rewarding somebody for actually doing the job they're paid to do, but it would be cheaper than the millions of dollars we pay out each year on police abuse lawsuits.

  • An extra two weeks off a year for officers, who on their police reports, never misspell the word "the."

  • Immediate promotion to the next rank for officers whose handwriting can be read.

  • Small bonuses for officers who get letters of commendation from citizens.

  • A year's supply of gun polish for doing "volunteer" work in homeless shelters, soup kitchens and old peoples' homes.

  • A take-home army tank, a bazooka and hand grenades for officers who are caught in the act of treating citizens with respect.

  • Free meals at expensive restaurants for cops who shoot and kill motorists who run stop signs, red lights and who fail to signal when turning.

  • A "Make Your Own Atom Bomb" kit for police who tell the truth in court.

  • Solid titanium billy clubs for officers who write essays on the dangers of a police state.

  • Video tapes of the Rodney King beating for officers who successfully complete antibrutality classes.

And finally, there's a special incentive for all of us who aren't cops. We get to watch police union presidents flex their political muscles. That'll provide us several years of laughs.

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