City Council approves pay raise for Durham police, firefighters
Posted February 6, 2017 5:46 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2017 10:03 p.m. EST
Durham, N.C. — Durham City Council members voted 7-0 Monday night to provide a pay raise for the city's police officers and firefighters.
Currently, Durham police and fire recruits are paid around $33,000. Under the new plan, the pay for police recruits jumps to $37,000 while the pay for firefighters will increase to $34,000. In comparison, the city of Charlotte pays recruits $40,000.
The city had recently approved incentives, including a $5,000 hiring bonus and up to $3,000 for relocation fees, but those who supported the idea of a pay raise said that’ wasn't enough.
Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis said lower pay in the city makes it tough to recruit new officers. Last month, she said that the department has more than 60 vacancies.
"They're out there. It's just a matter of us being competitive enough to get those good applicants on our department," Davis said.
Durham's fire chief Daniel Curia agrees that low pay is a problem. For him, it's not so much recruiting that's an issue, but movement through the pay structure.
"Once a firefighter gets into the system, at least in Durham, he or she typically doesn't leave, so it's how we compensate those people as they're working through a 30 year career with the city," he said.
A spokesman for the Durham Police Department said merit-based raises will increase from 3 percent to 5 percent.