Members expressed their concern that the City Council and city administrators have been considering holding a special election in November to give city voters a choice of maintaining or repealing Civil Service for the Beeville Police Department.
Members of the BMLEOA believe Civil Service holds the city and the police department administration accountable and provides equal treatment for the all police officers in the city, said Jason Alvarez.
An association member, Alvarez also serves as a patrol sergeant with the BPD.
“The members feel that the Civil Service process attracts applicants from other parts of the state and/or country and gives the struggling work force an opportunity for career change,” Alvarez said.
City officers are concerned with the way many “at will” police and sheriff’s departments are run where a lack of Civil Service protections can result in a “good old boy” system of hiring and firing that can create a revolving door in a department, he said.
That kind of management can put a strain on police services in a community, he added.
“One issue that was brought to the attention of the BMLEOA members is that the city of Beeville administrators feel that this same revolving door is the fault of the Civil Service process. That is far from the truth,” Alvarez said.
“The reason the BPD consistently has a problem with retaining officers is poor compensation and rising health care premiums. Beeville officers are underpaid compared to officers in nearby cities with comparable size departments. BPD officers also must pay extremely high premiums to provide health insurance coverage for family members,” the officer said.
Alvarez said association members believe city officials need to better compensate police officers for their hazardous duties and try to find a better solution for rising medical and health care insurance costs.
Removing the Civil Service system is not going to cure the turnover problem with the BPD. In fact, Alvarez said, most association members believe doing away with Civil Service will result in under-qualified officers joining the department.
Members have asked the Texas Municipal Police Officers Association to help the local members made their case to city voters for supporting continued Civil Service protections for BPD officers.