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Per-hour pay hike means no more Raleigh officers at State Fair

Posted May 26, 2011

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— They have been a fixture at the North Carolina State Fair for 30 years, but beginning this fall, Raleigh police officers will no longer be doing double duty protecting fairgoers.

The fair typically employs 75 to 100 Raleigh officers to work security each year, but a change in per-hour pay has put an end to that long-held relationship.

Last year, the fair paid officers an hourly rate of $26.68 and planned to increase that to $29.35 this year. However, Raleigh police created a secondary employment policy, which says any officer working off-duty must make $35 per hour.

The new police policy doesn't go into effect until 2012, but fair officials said they wanted to begin the transition this year and get new security personnel in place.

State Fairgrounds Police Chief Joel Keith says he considers Raleigh officers to be part of the "State Fair family" and that he's sad to see them go.

"They have to make a business decision about what they think their rate ought to be for off-duty (work). And likewise, we have to make a business decision without compromising public safety at the same time," Keith said.

Per-hour pay hike means no more Raleigh officers at Fair Per-hour pay hike means no more Raleigh officers at Fair

Wake County sheriff's deputies will fill most of the security vacancies, according to Keith.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said the decision to institute a $35-per-hour fee was decided two years ago.

"(The policy) ensures that off-duty employers are treated equitably and that our sworn personnel are compensated appropriately for the exceptionally high-quality services they perform," Dolan said in a statement. "The rate of pay is non-negotiable in order to avoid the negative professional aspects of appearing to bid against other police and security service providers."

The local Teamsters Union, which represents several hundred Raleigh police officers, calls the change "unfortunate."

"The officers' families (rely on) this income to support their cost of living," said Teamsters spokesman Chris Roth. "It is a deep concern (among officers)."

The State Fair paid Raleigh police officers:

  • $389,439 in 2010
  • $413,811 in 2009
  • $368,717 in 2008

In total, the State Fair paid the following amounts for all security personnel, which includes Raleigh police, Wake sheriff's deputies and State Fairgrounds police:

  • $691,535 in 2010
  • $690,045 in 2009
  • $489,070 in 2008

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said there's plenty of work to go around and that the officers' new per-hour rate is competitive.

Fair officials say security remains a top priority and that the only change the public will notice is the lack of blue Raleigh police uniforms. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • zacksmill May 30, 2011

    My brother relies on this OT to help pay his bills. He has a disabled wife and 2 boys in college. He currently works OT at a couple of bars and the convention center.

  • wolf35nc May 27, 2011

    Lets see a show of hands. How many of ya'll have a job where you have to put on a bullet proof vest just to go to work???

    Are there other jobs out there sure? but the ones who decide to do that job should be compensated for it. I always said teachers and cops aren't getting paid what they should be in this state.

  • patrick85ed May 27, 2011

    I don't care. I don't go anyhow.

  • wcnc May 27, 2011

    "There are plenty of security companis around that let you enjoy the experience of the fair."

    Because a security officer has absolutely NO authority to arrest, there is not a chance that the Fair will even employ them instead of LEO's..... Rest easy, people, Law Enforcement WILL be present at the Fair, it just won't be RPD, which is terrible for those officers who were able to earn some extra money...Sorry decision by Chief Dolan!

  • wcnc May 27, 2011

    " This rate was set not by the union but by your friendly liberal politicians in Raleigh, enjoy your elected !!"

    No, this policy was set in place by the RPD Chief, who is not elected.

  • chevybelair57sd May 27, 2011

    Come on people yes we don't pay our police enough but our soldiers are even more underpaid and spend lots of time out of country. This rate was set not by the union but by your friendly liberal politicians in Raleigh, enjoy your elected !!

  • lawncare5 May 27, 2011

    The lower paid officers lost part time pay due to the upper crust's decision, while the upper crust don't need the extra money..

  • schlitzmalt May 27, 2011

    I've got a cop friend who works the state fair every year, and he says after dark they're running from one incident to another all night long because of gang issues. If there are no cops working the fair, I won't be going anymore.

  • gpkg May 27, 2011

    In the 60s and 70s you had be very careful of pick pockets,gang fights,stabbings,and even murders.I have felt a lot safer since the well trained ,Professional Raleigh Police officers have had a large presence.Not Taking anything away from the Sheriffs Dept.Let them work for tha 29.35hr and make us all fell better.

  • umop apisdn May 27, 2011

    "SO, they'll get called for 0 in an emergency!!"

    They'll still get their "normal" pay but now instead of having someone on site they'll have to be called in. Also this reduces the number of officers during regular patrols.