DURHAM, N.C. — Members of the Durham City Council unanimously approved a 3 percent increase for officers and firefighters Tuesday night.
City employees, police and firefighters attended the meeting armed with arguments in favor of raises.
Durham police have demanded better pay for months.
"My number one priority in this town is public safety. We've got some very serious concerns with our police department," councilman Eugene Brown said.
Critics argue the department is losing officers to higher-paying jobs in other cities.
"Here in Durham, after about five years, they are making approximately $37,000 a year," said Sgt. Andy Miller of the Durham Polcic Department.
That amount is compared to Charlotte and Cary, where officers are being paid about $45,000 a year.
Although the 3 percent increase approved will not match those salaries, it is a small victory.
"Based on the certain amount of money we have, I think we came up with a pretty good compromise. I wish we could have done more," councilman John Best Jr. said.
The Durham City Council also approved a 1 percent increase for all other city employees.
The mid-year raises take effect March 1 and will be financed through the city's $1.6 million surplus.