Baton Rouge Union of Police puts up billboard advocating for higher pay for officers

Baton Rouge Union of Police puts up billboard advocating for higher pay for officers

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - You may have driven past a billboard on I-10 at Perkins Road recently that aims to start up a conversation about what police officers in Baton Rouge are paid. The Baton Rouge Union of Police is behind the billboard, and is calling for pay raises for officers in the capital city.

The billboard reads, “How much more must we give till we get fair pay”

“And their membership is just frustrated at this point, not hearing nothing, and trying to get some things worked out for the future,” said Gary Spillman, spokesperson for the Baton Rouge Union of Police.

He says the union hopes the billboard catches people's eyes.

“Now all of a sudden, you're in this pandemic of COVID-19. They’re (officers) being asked to stand out there and do their job, and they're doing their job well,’ said Spillman.

Back in March, the City-Parish’s negotiations with the Police Union for a new contract were almost complete.

“Police pay was the final aspect of the negotiations, and the city-parish was committed to utilizing the savings identified in the organizational and operational assessment towards funding a police pay raise,” said Darryl Gissel, Chief Operating OFficer for the City-Parish of East Baton Rouge.

“And I think what the membership is looking for is just some type of good faith with the administration, to either get the contract signed and continue with negotiations with pay,” said Spillman.

  • Baton Rouge police officers make $38,979 a year
  • Central police officers make $15 an hour
  • Zachary police officers make $16.07 an hour
  • East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies make $41,350.00 a year.
  • Gonzales police officers get paid $47,174.40

And according to this website from NOPD.

After one year in the force, officers could possibly make around $56K a year.

“There’s a lot more going on here in Baton Rouge than there is in Gonzales. So that's what makes it frustrating for the BRPD police officers,” said Spillman.

Chief Murphy Paul said, “We are committed in our efforts to pay our officers the salary they deserve. Through efficiencies and the elimination of high ranking positions we were planning to recognize savings within our existing budget. This was the first of several steps to attain a full pay raise."

“At least let the officers know, let everyone know what their (administration’s) plans are,” said Spillman.

The mayor’s office and Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul have both responded by releasing statements.

“The city-parish was in the process of identifying funding for a police pay raise when the coronavirus pandemic began. In December 2019, we received the results of an organizational and operational assessment of the Baton Rouge Police Department’s $93.5 million operating budget, conducted by Management Partners. In March 2020, the city-parish negotiations with Baton Rouge Police Union for a new police contract were substantially complete. Police pay was the final aspect of the negotiations, and the city-parish was committed to utilizing the savings identified in the organizational and operational assessment towards funding a police pay raise. The savings require structural changes in the police department, implemented over time, which would require support from the police union. The city-parish estimates a $23 million shortfall for the 2020 General Fund Budget due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Simply put, municipal budgets were not designed to handle a pandemic. To date, city-parish has not laid-off or furloughed any of its first responders or employees. We must protect our trained workforce to continue providing essential services to our citizens. The city-parish also continues to advocate for federal legislation to provide hazard pay for essential employees and first responders.”
Chief Operating Officer for the City-Parish of East Baton Rouge Darryl Gissel
“We are committed in our efforts to pay our officers the salary they deserve. BRPD completed a pay study that revealed we make less than our peer agencies. Through efficiencies and the elimination of high ranking positions, we were planning to recognize savings within our existing budget. This was the first of several steps to attain a full pay raise. We identified 16% to 20% of the 20+ million needed for the pay raise. We were working with the mayor’s office and finance to present a BRPD pay plan to the public. Unfortunately, COVID19 happened. No one predicted this unprecedented threat to our city. The reality of our current situation is an estimated $23 million shortfall in general fund dollars this fiscal year."
Chief Murphy Paul

The mayor’s office and Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul have both responded by releasing these full statements.

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