Tale of 2 Police Forces: While Irvine's Fumes, La Habra's Bites the Bullet

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To protect and serve . . . for less.
While their counterparts in "Safest City in America" Irvine fume over an employer-proposed wage freeze, officers who belong to the La Habra Police Association seem to have gladly accepted a deal that imposes what is essentially a 5 percent pay cut.

"Although difficult, we commend our members, and other city labor groups, for agreeing to tighten our collective belts in order to help the city through our national recession," says La Habra association president Jim Tigner, in a statement released by the union this week. "The men and women of the La Habra Police Association have once again demonstrated their commitment to our community by agreeing to this unprecedented move with city officials."

That unprecedented move involves agreeing to furloughs totaling 104 unpaid hours and the forfeiture of the ability to cash in on previously accrued vacation time.
The La Habra association's accord is part of an effort by the various city worker unions to respond collectively to the nation, state and region's economic downturn, according to Tigner. He vowed that members of his association will continue to "lay our lives on the line" for La Habra residents every police shift despite the 5 percent reduction.

"The association leadership recognizes the sacrifices the men and women of the La Habra Police Association have made to something that they see is much greater than themselves," Tigner said, "and how supremely honored I am to represent their interests on behalf of the entire membership."

Tigner's tone is the polar opposite of what's coming from the Irvine Police Association, whose president Shane Barrows accused Irvine City Council members--especially Mayor Sukhee Kang and council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran--of "playing political games" with police officers'  contract.

Barrows and his membership, which staff the fifth highest paid police force in the county, are upset that while the council boasts about Irvine being flush with funds and among America's safest cities, its negotiators are threatening layoffs if the cops don't forgo raises. The association's contract expired on June 30, and with talks at an impasse, a mediator has been brought in.
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