DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - Looking to spark some conversation. That’s the goal of one new billboard in Denham Springs along Highway 16, depicting just how little police officers in the city are paid.
The billboard was put up by the Denham Springs Union of Police in the hopes of getting a response from the city’s administration.
“It definitely makes people more aware of how little they’re [officers] being paid,” said Madison Sanders, a Denham Springs resident.
The extremely candid billboard reads, "Denham Springs, among the worst pay for a police officer."
It shows the harsh reality of net pay for officers with the Denham Springs Police Department, displaying a typical officer’s pay after two weeks of work, once taxes, health insurance, and more are taken out.
“It’s led to is this a display to the public, just exactly what’s going on and how bad the situation is,” said Chris Stewart, executive director for the International Union of Police in Louisiana.
Stewart says his organization has been working with the Denham Springs Police Union for about a year now, trying to talk with the mayor about a pay increase for the officers, but with no success.
“And it’s not a shot at anybody personally, it’s not a political shot, it’s not anything like that. It’s just we need some attention, and we’re going to continue to bring this message to the mayor, the council,” said Stewart.
Stewart says you always hear the typical saying that police officers are not paid well, but he’s hopeful this billboard will not only catch the city administration’s attention, but the public’s as well, to let them know how low the numbers really are.
“I think they ought to get paid a lot more than what they get paid, definitely. I mean, that’s a dangerous job,” said Denham Springs resident, Nick Hernandez.
“I have a friend here in Denham who used to work for Denham Springs Police Department that recently transferred to the Baton Rouge Police Department for an increase in pay,” said Dawn Mathis, another Denham resident.
“We’re not looking for shock and awe, we’re just looking to educate folks. It’s unfair to them [officers], to ask them to put their life on the line and then have to work way more overtime than necessary and extra duty assignments and things of that nature just to make ends meat,” said Stewart.
WAFB reached out to Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry multiple times Tuesday, Oct. 22 for a comment on this report, but never heard back.
Click here for a comparison of police salaries for local departments in the Baton Rouge area by the International Union of Police Associations Research Department.