No, not in the traditional sense that most people think of. Police officers are public servants employed by the government for the purpose of securing and protecting public safety and the civil rights of every citizen. And while they are also a public-private partnership for the benefit of the community, their pay is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Public Safety” category and the percentage of their work hours that are devoted to that category. Those numbers would be adjusted for inflation annually by the Department of Labor.
What about other professions, like veterinarians, nurses and physicians?
Yes. Most of these occupations require some degree of specialized training, and there are also additional compensation and benefits associated with being a physician.
What about public safety officers, like those from the Milwaukee police department, who wear a uniform, carry firearms, and use force to prevent property crime (as well as terrorism)?
These officers, along with state troopers and local police, have their own separate public-safety department, which is subject to the same rules governing compensation and other rights established for police officers by law.
Do these officers have extra rights under law to sue if their employer fires a public servant for a civil rights violation?
If an employee is discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a result of his or her work performance, no state or federal law prohibits an employee from pursuing claims of racial discrimination for the same reason. Such actions can only be brought in court under a state or federal law, not under an Act of Congress.
Is compensation and benefits for retired officers different from, say, a police officer with a security clearance?
Yes. Law enforcement officers with Security Clearances, which are similar to security clearances but are not required by law to be employees of their agencies, get their own private security contractors. Their compensation levels can be much higher than that of similar public employees.
What about a former employee who had a disability, lost his or her job, and is now a full-time employee?
If he or she is a retired officer whose work is performed for a private-sector employer, he or she must take a comparable, nonexempt full-time job. In some jurisdictions, full-time disabled employees must be compensated the same as non-disabled employees for work-related injuries or illnesses.
Some cities provide “work-rest exemptions” for disabled employees, and some agencies may offer work-rest exemptions. This allows disabled employees to be considered
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