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OUR POLICE OFFICERS DESERVE TO BE WELL-PAID

I must respond to the Jan. 23 front-page News article about "high" police salaries. It seemed to suggest that we would all be wise to disband our police departments and rely on the county sheriffs and state troopers, so that we could pay much lower taxes.

I'm sure that these law-enforcement officials are highly qualified, but if we all rely on them, they will need significantly more staff and therefore cost us all more money in taxes. If Clarence and other communities are happy and safe without local police departments, that is great.

I am an Amherst resident. I am not rich and I don't love to pay taxes, but I am very happy that we have a professional, dedicated police force. If the officers make more than $60,000 per year, I say, "Good for them, they deserve it." They risk their lives every day they work. I think that police, teachers and nurses have among the most difficult and thankless jobs. To those who think that police officers earn too much, or are not really needed, I suggest they participate in the Citizens' Police Academy, a free 13-week course offered by the Amherst Police Department. My husband and I took the course and were overwhelmed by all that we learned about what the police do and all the services they offer.

One cannot make a valid judgment about the police until one walks a mile in their shoes. It is no stroke of luck or coincidence that Amherst is one of the safest communities in America. It is largely a result of our capable police force.

Police are solely responsible for public safety in their communities. That is worth high compensation in my book. I suggest that The News stop picking on deserving public servants.

KATHY MARSHALL

Amherst

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