Price City Police Department Voices Great Concern to City Council


A large number of members of the Price City Police Department (PCPD) were in attendance during the Price City Council meeting that was hosted on Wednesday evening, which largely focused on many items related to the city budget.

Captain Brandon Ratcliffe spoke during the public hearing in regard to the tentative budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. Captain Ratcliffe began by saying that he understood the position that everyone is in and they are elected to make tough decisions. He wanted to speak on the police department’s stance as far as the last-minute budget changes that greatly affected their wages.

Ratcliffe stressed that he was not asked to be there by anyone in particular, but did ask anyone in his department that wished to join him, to show up. He felt that it was important for the police to be heard on budget concerns and the last minute change, as well as what was originally proposed.

Ratcliffe pointed out that, during a budget workshop that was hosted a week before, there was a comment made when the budget was discussed that boiled down to “we’ll see who leaves”.

Captain Ratcliffe then said that Price City is a corporation and, as a corporation, decisions have to be made. He also said that employees are the most important asset within a corporation. “Are we going to invest, or are we going to just see who leaves?” Ratcliffe questioned.

In the last four years, the Price City Police Department have lost 13 employees. 11 of those were officers, two were secretaries. Seven of those 13 left for higher wages, four were let go for poor performance, one left for a better schedule and one quit. The average time an employee is part of the force was about three and a half years, and Ratcliffe stated that succession will not come without retention.

Ratcliffe started in the captain position in May of 2020 and back then, he saw significant concerns on the pay scale. They began to address it by coming up with a new pay scale and presented the city with a problem and solution, which was not adopted. One such issue was having an officer making more money than their direct supervisor.

The captain acknowledged that there was some work with wages and one solution was to significantly raise the starting officer wage to bring more in, but other’s wages were not touched. This created a bottleneck of wages and made the career ladder incentive non-existent.

Earlier in 2024, there was once again an example of an officer making more than their direct supervisor. Ratcliffe questioned that if a solution was provided years ago, why was it not fixed yet?

The pay scale does not only effect officers, but the PCPD secretary as well. The captain said that he did not have enough hands to bring in everything that he wanted to show in regard to what the secretary takes on, who is leaving due to the pay. Captain Ratcliffe presented the council members and mayor with the secretary’s resignation letter, and said that it boiled down to the weight of the job not being worth the current pay.

From there, Captain Ratcliffe stated that the officers currently average nearly 10 calls a shift and he wished to remind the council and mayor what they currently have in Price. Behind Ratcliffe was numerous officers and their family.

They are not only first responders for the city, but neighbors, coaches, clergy members and more. A lot more is lost than just first responders if they leave.

Ratcliffe ended his presentation with an exercise that was aimed to put the PCPD’s employees’ positions into perspective. He asked questions of those in attendance such as if they or their spouse have ever been shot at, had to respond to a suicide, the death of a child, or had to point their gun at someone, as part of their job. Every officer in the room stood following at least one question, and many stood for all of them.

“I hope this has demonstrated the point I’ve been trying to make, that every department in this corporation is important, but they are not equal,” Captain Ratcliffe stated.

He said that if the city does not keep the people they have, the community will pay for it and the first responders are already paying their price.

From there, Mayor Mike Kourianos stated that the captain commended him on his visible presentation, also commending each officer and their spouses, acknowledging that what they do is not easy.

Councilman Layne Miller said this meeting was not designed to address these issues, but assured that as a council, they will take them into consideration and this is not the time or place to vote.

With those comments in mind, Sgt. Shawn Sackett spoke, stating that Price City is a beautiful place and everything he stands up for, he will continue to do as he is part of this community. He said the real issue is that he heard a “thank you” and a “we will discuss” from the council, but for four years they have heard the same promises without results.

In the three years that Sackett has been a sergeant, there has only been three months where he had a full crew to supervise. “It’s exhausting, it’s heartbreaking, because I know what this city represents,” Sgt. Sackett stated.

The Sgt. stated that by approving what the council would be moving to approve with the 2024-25 budget, that vote says more to a group of people where a promise was already made.

Councilman Joe Christman said there are two issues present, as there were budgetary issues that happened quickly and when the numbers were received, what was put together could be afforded. Councilman Christman said that he has not been a fan of the pay plan and agreed there is a need to do more, which is incumbent upon the council to find a way to increase revenue.

Mayor Kourianos stated that the council does not want anyone to leave and they care about public safety. To the wages promised, the mayor stated that the percentage put out was there to be discussed until the budget was worked on. It was a proposal and was not put in concrete, it was a number that was being worked to see how much would need to be transferred.

The Mayor stated that he could not say 100% that the city can do better, but that he hoped so.

Large conversation continued regarding the budget between various officers, sergeants and more, in which Ratcliffe stated that he hoped the council did not approve the budget that evening. If the city did not pass the budget, the state would withhold taxes.

Councilwoman Amy Knott-Jespersen said that officers are so underpaid for what they do and there is not enough money in the world to pay them for what they are worth.

Kelly Maynes, long-time sergeant and member of the department, ultimately expressed that the goal of the PCPD is the protection of the community and none of them want to leave it.

Following this lengthy and serious discussion, Councilman Christman stated that if the budget was approved, he wanted the council to open it again this quarter and meet to make a plan to move along. Councilman Tanner Richardson stated that he was willing to go back in the next few days and sit down with Chief Brandon Sicilia and Captain Ratcliffe to come up with a plan if the budget was not adopted.

The council then moved to close the public hearing before Councilman Christman made the motion to adopt the financial budget with the caveat that it is opened again after July of 2024 to find a solution. This was approved by the city, with Councilman Richardson being the opposing vote.

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