Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another great idea from Robb Pitts

Robb Pitts wants to give abandoned homes to police officers as an incentive.  The cop has to chip in a small down payment for the house, and gets the deed after living there and working on the police force for 15 years.
“Since most jurisdictions cannot pay police officers what they deserve, providing free homes to them would be a substantial supplement to their salaries and a good tool for recruitment and retention.”
On its face, this isn't an awful idea.  There are indeed a lot of empty, foreclosed homes, and Pitts is correct that jurisdictions can't afford to pay officers good salaries.  The problem, of course, is that the same funding problem that affects salaries will affect Pitts program.  How, exactly, is Pitts proposing to pay for these homes, which are typically owned by banks?

Take it one step further.  Suppose you could get the money to buy these homes.  Wouldn't it make more sense to just give the cops a raise, or better health care?  If I were a cop, I'd rather just get a raise to spend on what I want, instead of committing to 15 years on the force and having to move into a vacant (and likely dilapitated) home.  The average American moves something like every five or six years.  Why would we expect a cop to stick it out for 15 years in one place?  I don't see it as much incentive.  


  1. It seems like Pitts is the only commissioner with new ideas. I agree with you though- most people would rather have a cash than a deed. Hopefully it'll start some good dialogue...

  2. Yes, Pitts does come up with ideas. Idea generation isn't that hard if you don't care about the quality of your ideas. It isn't hard to come up with stupid ideas.

  3. The last policeman I talked with said there is no way he'd live in Atlanta. I think he lived in Canton. He said criminals knew they couldn't get away with stuff in Canton so they did their stuff in Atlanta.

    It may also still be true that while a police office is in the city limits, he is basically "on guard." I don't know the correct term for that. It's not necessarily the way a family man or woman wants to live.


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