An Issue of Safety? Voters Decide

2-8-05 – Voters head to the polls in Hugo, Oklahoma Tuesday to decide if police officers will get a six percent pay raise.

Officers say low pay has taken its toll; forcing experienced policemen and women to leave and find jobs in other cities that offer bigger salaries. According to the police department, the force used to be 21-strong. Today, there are 12 officers in Hugo and police say most have less than two years of experience in law enforcement.

Hugo officials argue now is not the time to give pay raises; citing a budget that is already spread thin. The city cut 17 jobs since last year and borrowed $200,000 to stay out of debt.

While officers say the community’s safety is at risk, the city says they are confident there is no threat to citizens.

Stay tuned to First News for the results of Tuesday’s vote.