BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is proposing a 3% pay raise for Baton Rouge Police Department officers in her proposed budget for 2021.
Her opponent in the Dec. 5 runoff, Steve Carter, is also proposing a raise for the men and women in uniform.
The proposed 3% raise is on top of the annual 3% merit raise for officers. This could be the first pay increase specifically for BRPD officers since 2008. Both candidates for mayor-president believe this has been a long time coming.
“And so, we’re not raising taxes to give this 3% raise, but we’re doing it as a result of efficiencies,” said EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
Those efficiencies Broome is talking about were apparently identified by a consulting firm for BRPD, in terms of positions that are being restructured, reorganized, and changed around a bit.
“Our goal is to continue to move forward as a result of the pay study, that was done to make sure that we make our officers competitive with other regional salaries,” said Broome.
The average pay for an officer with 1 year on the force would increase to $40,986 dollars.
Her opponent in the run-off for mayor-president in December, Steve Carter, questions the timing of this increase.
“Well, it’s been long overdue. It’s interesting and of course, it happens during an election year, but the police for too long now are not being as respected as they should be. And it’s very difficult to get people into the police force, with a low pay,” said Carter.
Carter says he still believes the pay for officers here locally would be below the regional average even with the raise.
But if he’s elected, Carter will try to continue to find dollars to put into BRPD’s budget.
“I’m going to go through the budget, ensure that we’re spending the monies as appropriately as we properly can, and be as transparent as we can. And if there’s any dollars that we can see that we can save, it would first priority be to go to the police,” said Carter.
Baton Rouge Union of Police members has been putting up billboards all over the city recently about the crime rate and the need for fair pay for officers.
Sources with the union tell WAFB’s Lester Duhe', that right now they are still trying to figure out where this money for a raise is exactly coming from. And the Union has not been a part of negotiations.
“As a leader, it’s important for me to follow a path that I believe is certainly going to uplift our department in terms of the needs that they have financially. I believe this should be a significant step in the right direction,” said Broome.
“So we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what’s necessary to maintain the quality and maintain the numbers that we need to have, to ensure that the city is being protected properly,” said Carter.
The EBR Metro Council has to approve this budget proposal at their meeting at the beginning of December.
If they do approve it, officers could see raises in their bank accounts at the end of December.
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