Making a case for better law enforcement wages in Cass County

NOW: Making a case for better law enforcement wages in Cass County

CASS COUNTY, Mich.-- Cass County commissioners approved the formation of a committee Friday to get input on a possible future millage for increased law enforcement wages.

Cass County Prosecutor, Victor Fitz, said he cannot keep good employees because they simply aren't getting paid enough.

Fitz shared the following numbers with ABC57, showing the salary range for assistant prosecutors compared to neighboring counties.

The issue is not just happening in Cass County. In fact, Fitz said 43 of Michigan's 83 counties were looking to fill assistant prosecutor roles in 2023.

He blames three factors for the shortage of applicants.

1. Fewer people are going to law school.

2. "Defund the police" rhetoric dissuaded many from pursuing law enforcement careers, Fitz said.

3. Wages are not keeping up with the market.

“If you don’t pay people what they’re worth, they’re not going to come. There’s a biblical phrase that says, ‘a laborer is worthy of their wages,’ and we’ve got to pay wages that are worthy of the position of an assistant prosecutor, or a deputy, or an officer, because if you don’t, they’ll go elsewhere,” Fitz said.

Representatives from the police departments in Cass County will serve on the committee formed Wednesday.

After getting public input, if they choose to bring forward a millage proposal, they will have until the filing date of May 14 to get it on the August 6 ballot.

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