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Ward II Albany City Commission candidate Jalen Johnson, right, is calling for raising starting salaries at the Albany Police Department, a move that he said would attract more promising talent to law enforcement and thereby improve safety within the community.

ALBANY — Ward II Albany City Commission candidate Jalen Johnson is calling for raising starting salaries at the Albany Police Department, a move that he said would attract more promising talent to law enforcement and thereby improve safety within the community.

“I believe that it is long overdue that we adequately compensate our men and women in blue who leave their homes to protect our families each and every day,” Johnson said in a news release. “Today, I am demonstrating my full support for the law enforcement community by calling for salaries commensurate with the immense sacrifices our officers make every day when they put on their uniforms, often marking themselves for death in the line of duty. I will always stand with our heroes in blue.”

A former legislative aide, Johnson said he understands that smart applications for federal grants — not tax hikes — can fund the raises, reflecting both his commitment to improving public safety and his belief that hard work should be financially rewarded without saddling Albany residents with debt. When hard-working officers seek employment in neighboring counties with more competitive salaries, Albany, which is already plagued by violence, suffers the consequences, Johnson said.

“If elected City Commissioner for Ward II, I will work constructively with the police chief and other city leaders to ensure that a salary increase would be well-budgeted and sustainable so that we can attract the best upcoming officers in southwest Georgia,” Johnson said. “Adequately funding police departments is the safest public safety investment Albany can make.”

Johnson has what he calls a multifaceted public safety plan that he says he will fight to implement if elected, including investments in technological innovations that can detect and prevent crime; services for the mentally ill, whose lack of access to adequate care often leads to homelessness; and programs for at-risk youths designed to prevent impressionable children from becoming career criminals through engagement in after-school activities.

For more information, visit JalenJJohnson.com.

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