Around 1,600 police officers and another 1,600 correctional officers, jailers and bailiffs are paid low enough wages to qualify for food stamps, a study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found.
The average hourly wage for a police officer in Georgia was $19.73, below the average occupational wage of $22.38, the study found.
The hourly wage for a police officer in Columbus is $18.90 with a high school diploma and up to $20.53 with a master’s degree, according to the Columbus Police Department website.
“Millions of Americans work in jobs with low pay. For example, a recent analysis found that up to 30 percent of Americans work in jobs with pay that would barely lift a family above the poverty line, even if they were working full-time, year-round,” wrote the study’s authors.
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Gov. Nathan Deal gave state-level law enforcement officers a 20 percent pay raise earlier this year, but some local officers felt it didn’t do enough to address their own issues with low pay.
“I’m just wishing they did more for the local side,” Putnam County deputy sheriff Justin Brock told the AJC. “I wish they would even the playing field.”
Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE