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Part of Retention Plan for Raleigh Cops Approved

Posted March 3, 2008

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— The city manager has approved part of a plan that would increase pay for Raleigh police officers and help turnover in the department.

The "lateral entry" portion of Chief Harry Dolan's proposal will allow experienced officers moving from another law enforcement agency to the police department to receive pay based on their years of service as an officer rather than how long they have worked for Raleigh.

That part of the plan is expected to cost $200,000 to $400,000 and will likely be implemented right away, because it does not need approval from the City Council.

Other parts of Dolan's proposal that need to go before the council include increasing entry-level pay for officers and something that Dolan calls "compression," which allows officers to get top pay earlier in their careers than they usually would.

Dolan said officers typically wait 17 years for top pay. Under his plan, they would be eligible in 7 to 9 years.

The City Council will use Dolan's plan as part of its budget process.

"All of the topics I've been talking with city managers about are expensive," Dolan said Monday to members of the Budget and Economic Development Committee.
But he believes the changes will attract new officers and help retain them.

"I'm so impressed with the men and women of the Raleigh Police Department," Dolan said. "We're fortunate to have them, and we've got to be thinking creatively and outside the box how will we make certain we're doing all that we can within the salary constraints to give them the best compensation."

The Raleigh Police Protective Association, a group that looks out for the interests of more than 400 officers, wants educational incentives for officers.
Dolan said that he is not against these types of incentives but believes they are a short-term solution that won't help the long-term problem

"What we're faced with today is a challenging, growing crisis in law enforcement throughout the country," Dolan said.

Last year, more than 10 percent of officers left the department – largely related to pay and benefits, Dolan has said. The department now has 70 officer vacancies.

In North Carolina, Raleigh police pay is competitive, but nationally, it is 5 to 10 percent below average, Dolan said.

"I think what the chief has started is great," said John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association. "I think the dialogue is great, but that dialogue has got to turn into real dollars – not just incentive programs that are very small benefits, but real pay incentives."

17 Comments

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  • wcnc Mar 3, 2008

    "Deputies make less than city police because they do something different, no less honorable, just a different type of job"

    Since Deputies have greater jurisdiction and a more diverse job than an PD, I can't see where you could think they should make less......The job isn't much different when you think about it....If you think about it!!

  • DJ of Clayton Mar 3, 2008

    RFD (like most other city fire departments) has no retention problem, nor do they have a recruitment problem.

    Actually, several paramedics have left Wake County EMS to go to the fire department over the years.

    Not being able to speak too much for the LEOs, I do know most paramedics have to work one or more extra jobs, which is hard given the call volume they are experiencing here in Wake.

  • redant Mar 3, 2008

    Money may help in retention but don't buy into the belief that it will make police officers happy. They truly are special people doing a difficult job (just ask one) but they are not the only employees we have to be concerned with. New teachers last than 5 years in the profession. This money will draw officers from other departments, maybe not WF or Cary, but there are plenty of other agencies to poach from. Deputies make less than city police because they do something different, no less honorable, just a different type of job. Same with EMS and Fire. BTW, is the Raleigh FD experiencing the same rate of attrition as the PD?

  • DJ of Clayton Mar 3, 2008

    "EMS is county, not City of Raleigh."

    Yes, most of the paramedics in Wake County work for the county. And a lot of firefighters and police officers do not work for Raleigh. The comment still stands- when worrying about the police officers, do not forget the paramedics and firefighters, whoever they work for.

    Besides, even if you live in the city, you are paying county taxes.

    The fact is that they are ALL underpaid for what they do.

  • roadtrash Mar 3, 2008

    claudnc...I knew we would win you over sooner or later...baby steps

  • resraleigh Mar 3, 2008

    The only place to work in Raleigh is for the city of Raleigh. Time to get in touch with the fact that the city has an economy where lots of people aren't getting time-in based raises or cost of living increases.

  • The Dude Mar 3, 2008

    Does the Chief and City of Raleigh actually think they are going to bring in a bunch of laterals with this? Most departments around here pay more to start and increase their officer's pay faster. I'm guessing a 3,4, or 5 year vet of Garner, Cary, WF, etc. would be taking a pay cut to come to Raleigh even with the lateral transfer policy.

  • Morrisville Mar 3, 2008

    I still believe this city is going to turn itself inside out, low wages for teachers, public workers (police, EMS, firefighters, etc) Personally I feel they should be some of the highest paid.

  • RonnieR Mar 3, 2008

    EMS is county, not City of Raleigh.

  • claudnc Mar 3, 2008

    I am not a big fan of LEO - bu tI do they believe they need a raise. Their starting salaries are so low.. I can figure out why someone would even want their job - they have to love it. We are living in one of the top 5 cities in the world - lets act like it!!

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