Local News

Durham police protest pay at City Council meeting

Posted October 6, 2008
Updated October 7, 2008

— Durham police officers protested their pay Monday evening before the City Council. They say the department continues to lose officers to other agencies that offer higher salaries.

The average salary for a Raleigh officer is about $34,291 a year. Durham has the lowest-paid officers in the Triangle at $33,000. Average pay for Cary officers was the highest at $37,544.

"This show of force is going to bring our issue forward," said Sgt. Sheldon Perkins, with the North Carolina Sheriff-Police Alliance.

Officers gathered at the library Monday evening before walking down the streets they serve to City Hall.

"We are losing officers at an alarming rate,” Perkins said.

Officers say new hires are getting their training in Durham and then leaving for a better salary somewhere else. The officers also argue that the pay-scale they work under is broken. They say, in some cases, new hires make more than the men and women training them.

“I would have preferred they not do this,” City Manager Tom Bonfield said of the protest.

Bonfield says he does not believe the public show was necessary. City leaders are meeting with the police chief, he says, and are interested in working toward a compromise with the officers.

"What can be done about it and how much that will cost,” Bonfield said he is looking into.

However, the talks are not happening fast enough for the officers. Some many of them packed into City Hall that the fire marshal escorted most back out due to safety concerns.

"We recognize that there are always going to be certain issues, but there is a process by which we wold like to follow in,” Durham Mayor Bill Bell said.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan told WRAL News in May that officer shortage was a problem nationwide. Dolan's announced a plan allowing officers to make lateral transfers if they join the Raleigh police force, a move that caused friction with neighboring police departments.


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  • The2ruthHurts Oct 9, 2008

    I would be more than happy to elaborate on the "luxuries" I was referring to: 1. Pool project for Bragtown (at least $10 million), 2. Spending ten of thousands of dollars on consulting firms to tell the city council what they are already paying people to do., 3. A couple million on an old building that we call the Durham Police Headquarters. It would have been just as cost effective to have built another building with better facilities. 4. A one million dollar skate park (are you kidding me?). You can jump in at any time.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 8, 2008

    rajulio, since you asked "What did our previous tax increases go to?", how can you also say "taxes are being wasted on luxuries"? You may want to take your own advice and "start digging" into where your tax $ go...THEN report back to us (and the City) on something that you may find wasteful.

    When people spout off that we need to "cut taxes", it's a useless demand if not followed up with a cost analysis of a specific program. It's that "ounce of prevention = pound of cure" thing. For instance, the cost of a $10K basketball program that serves scores of people, is the same cost as 6 months in a NC jail by ONE prisoner. AND, there would be at least one less crime victim...maybe you.

  • Lee Oct 7, 2008

    How is walking down the street and going to a city council meeting a "protest."

  • 68_polara Oct 7, 2008

    "BY the way, Durham and Raleigh are very equal in crime. Both are equally dangerous. Difference is, the news reports more on Durham Crime, and that's their agenda. Raleigh is equal if not higher in murders this year."

    Why is this misinformation regurgitated over and over again? There is a big difference between crime rate and total crime for a given city. Raleigh my have a much total crime as Durham but because Durham has a much smaller population it's crime rate is much, much higher than Raleigh's. Durham Officers deserve as least the same amount of compensation as Raleigh's.

  • WildBullMoose Oct 7, 2008

    Just refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The second most important of the deficiency needs is safety. Keep in mind the only need with priority includes food, sleep, etc.

    One quote I remember from my Education curriculum:
    Poverty is the result of any one of these needs being frustrated, denied or unfulfilled.

  • SouthernLady05 Oct 7, 2008

    "The police academy graduates from this year will be making the same as officers who have been on the streets for two years."

    Same situation @ RPD. Really hurts dept. morale when that's the case.

  • debkuz Oct 7, 2008

    The gathering at the city council meeting last night was to show a united front for fair pay. The Durham officers did indeed receive an increase in pay,however,it was inconsistant with their time on the force. For example: an officer working for two years is making the same as someone who has been on the force for five years. The police academy graduates from this year will be making the same as officers who have been on the streets for two years.Compression needs to be reconciled before more officers are lost. This is not out of greed, it is out of respect for their fellow officers who have done their time.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Oct 7, 2008


  • gary23 Oct 7, 2008

    The next time something real bad happens in Durham they need to call one of the Higher Paid Officials that go to a few meetings, wear their Suits, Ties,and Expensive Dresses's, work (8) hours, and have Expense Reports to arresst or detain the Criminals. Law Enforcement and School Teachers need to make more money than these so called Elected Officials that decide what the real Workers can make. Durham, N.C. is a Big Joke.


  • SouthernLady05 Oct 7, 2008

    Forgot one, I beleive also that Rolesville PD starting is higher than Raleigh & Durham