Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says she expects a formal study of CMPD compensation will result in the city doing a better job of retaining and recruiting officers.
CMPD currently has about 200 vacant positions. The Fraternal Order of Police has asked for a 15 percent raise. Speaking on Charlotte Talks Thursday, Lyles says a long-term solution is more complex.
“It’s where you are in your career path and it’s where your rank is,” Lyles said. "All of these things are important decisions and you can’t just say it’s just 15 percent and it may be appropriate in some places and not in others, so let’s wait until we get our study back on compensation and let’s look at where our key points of rank are and how long it takes you to get there. All of these are things we are going to do.”
Starting pay for a new CMPD officer is just over $43,000 a year. In Raleigh, they make between $47,000 and $55,000. In addition to the pay increase, FOP officials are asking that officers who live in the city be allowed to take their cars home. They also want better health care, health care reinstated for retirees hired after 2009, shift differential pay for those who work second and third shifts, and overtime when officers work on holidays.
Lyles says she welcomes the FOP's requests to improve conditions for police officers in an effort to make their jobs more attractive for recruiting purposes. She says their suggestions will be taken into consideration during budget talks.
"Whenever we 're dealing with compensation issues, we don't do this in a vacuum," she said. "The police department will have representatives to work with the city manager and all of it is on the table.
"So I expect in the budget we'll have a robust discussion, but that discussion has to include the (police) force."