Somerset on list of top towns for police officers


A data collection website has released a report naming Somerset the 39th best small city in the United States
for police officers to work and live.

By MICHELLE GANASSI | Posted: Saturday, July 4, 2015 10:50 pm

A data collection website has released a report naming Somerset the 39th best small city in the United States for police officers to work and live.

The South Carolina company looked at a several pieces of data to compile the list of 539 small cities with populations under 100,000. The group examined population, average salary, housing
affordability and violent crime.

“The job of a police officer is one of the hardest in the country, and the strength of a police force says a lot about the community it protects,” said Eppie Vojt, founder of GoodCall, the company
that completed the report. “We wanted to find communities that give back to their law enforcement officers by providing them a great quality of life.”

According to the report, Somerset police officers make an average of $57,410 per year, while spending just 15.89 percent of their salary on housing. Somerset was ranked No. 192 out of 539
for lowest violent crime rate, which was calculated by dividing the number of violent crimes per year by the city’s population.

GoodCall researchers also looked at amenities and recreational venues. The group gathered data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FBI, the Department of Justice and the website, a search engine for jobseekers.

“Our methodology took into account average police officer salaries, job density, job availability and job competition,” Vojt said. “We also factored in crime rates and road safety in each city, as well as whether or not the city participates in community policing, to determine job safety.”

The only towns in Pennsylvania that ranked higher than Somerset were Sunbury, at No. 12, Lewisburg, at 15, DuBois, at 18, and Sayre, at 23. The report lists Corvallis, Oregon, at No. 1. No other Somerset County towns were listed in the top 100.

Somerset Borough police Chief Randy Cox said he was unaware the list existed until he was contacted by the Daily American. Cox said he was surprised that Somerset made the list; however, he was not surprised by the reasons the group gave.

“Our officers are definitely busy,” he said. “But they are not exposed to as violent of crimes as other agencies in the region.”

Cox said the officers also have a nice facility and access to the best equipment.

“It’s nice to see that we are ranked so high on the list,” he said. “It is a good distinction for the community to have.”

Cox said the borough council has always supported the police department, which has helped to create a good working environment. Somerset Borough spends 52 cents of each tax dollar on public safety. Of the borough’s $3.3 million general fund budget, about $1.6 million is spent on the force.

According to the Corvallis, Oregon, website, the town spends $11,130,460 on its police department. Corvallis has a residential population of more than 56,000. Somerset’s population, by comparison, is 6,277, according to the 2010 census.

“The council has been very generous and kind to us,” he said.

Borough Mayor Scott Walker said he was also not aware of the distinction, but he said it is welldeserved.

“I’m very happy for Somerset and our police department to be recognized in such a manner,” he said. “It is a reflection on the work of council, work of the chief and work of the community in which we live.”

Walker said it is wonderful that GoodCall recognized the work that the council and department are doing in Somerset.

“Council has been very accommodating giving our officers a living wage and the equipment they need to effectively do their jobs,” he said.
The full report is available online at