Editor:

The author of the letter (“Salaries too high,” Letters to the Editor, Oct. 2), you perhaps should investigate all the data before suggesting that Sgt. Jaime Hernandez is earning an exorbitant salary.

I may not have the exact figure in my response but the base salary for an SMPD sergeant is about half that quoted by the author. Sgt. Hernandez puts his life on the line when on duty and while sometimes working overtime assignments in his free time. He is serving the city of Santa Monica’s citizens.

This overtime caused his salary to be at the level quoted. It is more cost effective for the police department to offer overtime than to hire additional officers when extra staffing is needed. Additionally, if a motion picture, television or commercial production company is operating in the city, that company pays the overtime salary of any city employee working overtime at that location. It is not coming out of city coffers or taxpayer money.

Sgt. Jaime Hernandez deserves the money he earns by sacrificing some of his off time away from his family to help keep the city safe and to ensure that safety procedures and policies are followed that prevent our fine city from being placed in a position of liability if things go south.

In summary, the reality of the situation is that Sgt. Hernandez is doing what he volunteered to do as a public safety officer every time he puts his uniform on. The only referendum needed is one for common sense.

 

Sky Lambert

Santa Monica