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DECATUR: DeKalb tries to blunt threat of police ticket slowdown | News

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DECATUR: DeKalb tries to blunt threat of police ticket slowdown

DECATUR, Ga. -- Go to the DeKalb county court that handles traffic citations, and you'll find plenty of motorists who are all about a ticket-writing slowdown.

As a tactical matter, some DeKalb police now agree -- in order to send a message to county government, which is cutting budgets and squeezing benefits.

An anonymous, popular DeKalb police blog is calling for an "all out ticket strike." The same thing happened last year, and it cost DeKalb $5 million in lost revenue, county officials say.

"Obviously that could have some degree of fiscal impact," said Richard Stogner, DeKalb's chief operating officer.  But Stogner says  an administrative change is in the works that he thinks will bring disgruntled cops back into the fold.

"In the final analysis, we think we've addressed the issue," Stogner said. 

The one sticking point was over holiday pay. DeKalb police officers had complained that in order to save money, the county was docking police holiday pay disproportionately to that of other county employees.  Stogner says county administrators have directed county attorneys to find a way to fix that problem, which is rooted in police scheduling:  Police work 10 hour days four days per week; civilian county employees work 8 hour days for five days.

"We need to address this problem ... on a consistent basis for all of our employees. So I think that basically moots the concern the police officers had over this particular aspect of it," Stogner said.

"I have no doubt in my mind this can be fixed. It never should have been an issue to begin with," said Jeff Wiggs of the DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police.  Wiggs says the threat of a ticket strike appears to have gotten the attention of the administration.

"I think they understand the seriousness of it. And I think that has opened up more negotiations between us and them," said Wiggs, who emphatically adds the FOP never endorsed a ticket strike.

DeKalb police have a long list of pay-related grievances dating back seven years, when officers last got a raise. But Wiggs hopes that by addressing the holiday pay issue, the county can blunt the threat of another ticket-writing slowdown.