BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council has approved a 3% pay raises for officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department. They also voted for the department to have four deputy chiefs instead of three.
This is the first raise officers have had since 2015, when all city-parish employees got a 2% pay increase, on top of their merit raise. BRPD Chief Murphy Paul was excited about the council’s decision.
“It’s not enough to get our police officers where they need to be but it is our first step,” Paul said. “But we are going to continue to work through our next budget cycle to see where we can redirect funds for a raise officers should see the money by the end of this year.”
Chief Paul says his officers should see the raises in their checks before January 1.
It’ll cost citizens no new taxes. Instead, the $1.8 million price tag to fund the raises, was done by identifying efficiencies within the police department’s initial budget.
“I am excited about the future of our city,” said Chief Paul.
While the pay increase was approved at the special budget meet, 4 council members voted against adding another deputy chief to the ranks of BRPD. Those council members were Matt Watson, Scott Wilson, Dwight Hudson, and Denise Amoroso.
The council members believed that this specific decision should be made by the next metro council.
“My concern is that here we are in December, and we’re putting it in the budget. And I’m not telling you how to do your job, I just wish that if we would’ve done it, we probably would’ve done it earlier,” said Councilman Wilson of District 4.
“What city have y’all worked with where you recommended another very, very high end desk job position, and the following year you saw a serious reduction in crime,” questioned Councilman Matt Watson of District 11.
If you look back to 2008, BRPD received a 7.5% raise.
“The reality is I said it earlier, you don’t get 29% below other agencies, unless that can is being kicked down. So we’re going to continue moving forward in that direction,” said Chief Paul.
The average pay for an officer with one year on the force will now increase to $40,986.
This new raise is on top of a yearly 3% merit raise for officers as well.
If you compare these new numbers to law enforcement agencies around us, there is some difference.
- East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputies make $41,350.00 a year.
- Gonzales Police Officers make $47,174.40 a year.
- Cadets with Louisiana State Police earn $50,932.01 after one year on the force.
“But our mayor (Broome) made sure that public safety was a priority and we’re going to keep continue moving forward with 2021 with this new budget, and continue to get this crime down in our city,” said Chief Paul.
WAFB’s Lester Duhe’ did ask Chief Paul about the record-breaking homicides in the Capital City this year. Chief Paul said, “We’re working. One homicide in our city is one too many. But we’re continuing to work. We’re starting to make those adjustments with the new data. Here’s the reality, this pandemic has presented new challenges for law enforcement, not just here, but in other places. But my detectives and our guys who are making those new adjustments with the new data, hopefully, we’re going to end this year on a more positive note. We’re already putting together our 2021 strategy. But here’s the thing, we do a pretty good job of putting bad actors in jail. We have to start preventing, and the mayor’s initiative for a safer Baton Rouge, that is the answer, prevention. And working with the community, I am very excited that we are going to get there, and I’m glad the mayor had another opportunity to continue moving forward with the leadership that she started.”
“The Union will always be happy for its officers to get any pay increase,” said Sgt. Brandon Blust, president of the Baton Rouge Union of Police. “Though it is only 3% out of the 38% that was identified by the pay study we believe it to be a start. However, I do not believe that this will stop our well-trained officers from leaving for higher-paying departments nor increase our ability to hire the most qualified persons our state has to offer. I applaud the council for voting for the raise and look forward to the Mayors plan to locate the remaining 35% to put this department on par with other agencies in the state.”
According to a statement from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome:
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome secured a 3% pay raise for every Baton Rouge police officer at the Tuesday evening metro council budget hearing. The pay increase goes into effect at the end of the month, and is the product of a multi-year initiative under Mayor Broome.
“These pay raises are well deserved for our officers who serve our community and help keep our citizens safe,” said Mayor Broome. “The increase is a first step towards making the Baton Rouge Police Department competitive with surrounding agencies, which will help us attract and retain qualified officers.”
The pay increase comes after Mayor Broome and the metro council commissioned two studies: a disparity study comparing officer compensation to peer agencies and an efficiency study to find cost savings within the Baton Rouge Police Department budget.
The raises are being implemented purely through efficiencies, without additional cost to taxpayers. Officers who meet performance standards will also receive an additional 3% merit raise.
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