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Raleigh recruiting cops from the neighbors to beef up force

Posted May 12, 2008
Updated May 13, 2008

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— The rising number of robberies in Raleigh has the police department scrabbling to fill vacancies.

Robberies are up more than 50 percent from last year, with 410 reported so far this year. Bringing that number down is a challenge because the city is short more than 70 officers from its authorized strength. 

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan says officer shortage is a problem nationwide. However, he is doing all he can to recruit more officers, even if it causes friction with neighboring cities.

"We want to recruit experienced, professional officers,” Dolan said.

Dolan is going after officers from other departments, he said, with a new plan allowing them to make lateral transfers if they join the Raleigh police force.

“They are not going to have to start over. They are going to be recognized for the years of experience that they have, both in their position within the department ... and with pay,” he added.

The lateral transfers are already sparking concern in Durham. The department is worried about losing officers that it has spent money to train, Durham police spokesperson Kammie Michael said.

"I think that's the competitive nature today that we live in,” Dolan said. "If we see talent, we're going to do all that we can to get that talented young woman or man to join the capital city police."

The shortage is so bad, Raleigh plans to hire back some retired officers to work part-time. The department also put all promotions on hold to keep more officers on patrol.

"We're going to make sure that we're keeping all the resources that we can in those marked cars, in those uniforms on the streets,” Dolan said.

The starting pay for a Raleigh officer is about $32,000 a year. Durham has the lowest-paid officers in the area at $30,000. Cary officers start off making almost $36,500, while Knightdale pays the highest, at more than $37,000.

Councilman Rodger Koopman said lower pay hurts recruitment efforts.

"The City Council, I think, needs to recalibrate how we provide money so that the police department can recruit and attract the right talent,” Koopman added.

Dolan said he hopes that the new initiatives will put the department at or near full staff by the start of 2009.


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  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    WA4MJF, that's not the reason why two sets of standards. Sheriffs want the ability to repay their supporters with patronage jobs on day one when they take office. That's why a Sheriff can hire somebody with zero training and experience and put them on the street for a year, when everybody else has to pass BLET before they can be hired.

  • RonnieR May 13, 2008

    A Deputy Sheriff and a Police Officer, while they have some functions in common, are two different types of LEO. That is
    why there are two Training and Standards Commissions, one
    for Deputies and one for all other LEOs.

  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    She tried making RPD into NYPD south precinct. She went riding by an officer on a traffic stop that had requested help and didn't stop. When the officer turned to look at her going by, the perp hit the officer and they were fighting in the street as she drove off in her Exploder. That's just to start.

  • wcnc May 13, 2008

    psychobabble- I think it is 4 miles, at the discretion of the sheriff. SO, if a new sheriff is elected and does away with this policy, then you are either out of a job or forced to move. But, I get your point. I also still feel it has to do with jurisdiction. How can RPD justify taking it's cars out of the county, much less out of the city?? In WCSO, most of them live in Wake County, so there is no justification for the take home car.

    You ARE right, it is a BIG perk (with gas prices), but still doesn't make up the complete difference in that $10-15K salary issue I was talking about earlier. So, that leads me to believe there is more going on within RPD than just salary.....What all did Perlov do to them that their morale is SO low??!! I know she was NOT a good leader, but I am wondering just how bad she was to be losing this many officers!!

  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    wcnc, I was told in a school a couple of weeks ago that WCSO have to live within 5 or 10 miles of the county line to have a take home car. Being outside of your jurisdiction has nothing to do with it. With gas prices today, a take home car is about a 3K a year, non taxed bonus, plus the perk of not having to worry about anything you leave in it. A lot of works to make a case for a simple solution to help the problem with retention.

  • wcnc May 13, 2008

    psychobabble- Good thought on the take home car, but I don't know if it would fly.....Here are my thoughts on it.....

    WCSO get take home cars only if they live within Wake County. That is because they have jurisdiction throughout the county and can answer calls, write tickets, etc while driving to and from their posts (courthouse deputies, deputies serving papers, etc, who have to go into Raleigh before starting their shift). RPD doesn't have that kind of jurisdiction, nor do they have to live within Wake County. RPD does not have to live within Raleigh CIty limits and there are several towns within Wake where it is cheaper to live than within the city limits.

    Now, I can absolutely see how gas prices have had a BIG effect on RPD officers who may be driving from Clayton to get to work.....But then again, that is the case with many others too....So I don't know the solution!! That was a lot of words for no solution!!

  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    . If the car gets unexplained damage, or is misused, take action against the officer and suspend their take home car for a bit. Then once all that is in place, apply it to your probationary employees and new hires. Publish the pay scale so that everybody knows what they should be making, and what they will if they get hired. Then take out the yearly COL raises, and make all raises merit raises with a minimum of 2%.
    Take care of your current people first and try to stop the bleeding and then try to backfill. Hiring experienced officers that don’t have to go through BLET and can have shorter field training periods saves a lot of time and money and is a big plus for lateral transfers.

  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    So maybe the line should be the Wake County line. Then if they live past that line, let them pay for the excess gas to take that car home. They shouldn’t have a problem with that since they would be paying for the gas anyway. And if that excess mileage goes past 3K a year, let them pay for a routine service since they would have paid for that one too. The whole thing here is being reasonable about this. Say an officer lives in Creedmoor, which comes out to about 7200 miles a year. The officer pays for less gas than he would have used driving his car and pays for two oil changes a year. Plus he takes the car home and the car gets better care taken of it. It stays cleaner, the interior doesn’t get trashed, and if a maintenance item is replaced at a higher rate on his car, they know who to blame, along with damages to the car. MORE>>>

  • anonemoose May 13, 2008

    joefly, some like the smaller departments because they get to know their employers and have the time to spend on doing cases instead of sending it up the chain and forgetting it.
    Chief Dolan, if I may. First establish a competitive base pay. Then add so much for each year of full time service, and ½ year for each year of active part time service. Each year compounds with the others, meaning that the steps are the same as if they had been actively employed. Then add for certifications, skills, supervisory experience, and passing an age adjusted POPAT . Put that pay structure in place for your present non probationary officers, plus allow take home cars for everybody past field training. Now I know you have to draw a line somewhere, but make it reasonable. Raleigh is a very expensive place to live and many of your officers can’t afford to live there. MORE>>>

  • wcnc May 13, 2008

    jgirl- I don't know many cops who actually want to work for Cary!! I do get your point- which is (hopefully) that no cop gets paid what they should!!

    I know you didn't bring up WCSO- I did to compare the facts. Yes, I agree that there are issues within RPD and some of that has to do with pay desparities. But, what people don't see is that the COL that RPD gets quickly lets their low starting salary overtake some departments, namly WCSO. Now, RPD is still losing more officers than WCSO (I think), the issue goes beyond salary. Something else is going on at RPD, an overflow from Chief Perlov's "leadership", maybe??? Hopefully Dolan can do something about it!!