ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix approves boosting police salaries by at least $20K a year

Jun 15, 2022, 8:56 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday approved pay raises for all officers in the department by at least $20,000 a year.

“Today we are taking the next step to make sure that Phoenix remains a top employer,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in the council meeting. “We are going from a more complex compensation system for our police department to one that is more competitive and has our wages above average.

“We have a very complex city, our officers respond to a large number of incredibly difficult calls and to me, this investment makes sense.”

The raise brings a starting grade police officer’s salary from $48,194 a year to $72,779, while recruit pay also jumps to about $68,000 from $48,000 annually. Prior to the pay increase, recruits in Phoenix made about 7% below market average, according to a press release.

There are also pay grade step increases for other positions in the department including sergeants, lieutenants and assistant chiefs.

The updated pay structure goes into effect Aug. 8.

The motion passed 8-1, with councilmember Carlos Garcia being the lone dissenting vote.

Garcia, from District 8, was concerned about boosting the pay of the police as opposed to other city departments.

“I believe it’s unfair to the other workers in the city that one department is prioritized again and again, leaving others behind, especially as we are being told we are facing economic uncertainty,” Garcia said.

“What I’m afraid of is that we leave our other employees behind and then we hit another recession … we will not be able to provide this same commitment of compensation to other departments who have also put their lives on the line, who have also gotten us through this pandemic in different ways that we are not recognizing.”

Assistant City Manager Lori Bays in the council meeting said money for the raises comes from the existing police budget that was recently approved by the city council.

Bays added the raises were made possible from salary savings of the more than 450 vacant positions and that additional funding would be needed in future years for the raises as those positions are filled.

Phoenix has been putting forth efforts to fill those open positions, including offering a $7,500 hiring bonus for new officer recruits.

City Manager Jeff Barton said law enforcement has the most vacancies of any city department, with police accounting for approximately 50% of the city’s general fund open positions.

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Phoenix approves boosting police salaries by at least $20K a year