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Raleigh's Veteran Police Officers Upset Over Pay Scale

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RALEIGH — Police departments around the state are struggling to fill jobs. While higher pay makes it easier to attract new candidates, some senior officers in Raleigh say they are getting a bad deal.

Second- and third-year officers in Raleigh held an informational picket outside City Hall Wednesday. They say their pay is barely above what new recruits get.

"We have officers right now that serve and protect the city every day. They can't afford to live in the city of Raleigh," says Officer T.J. Thompson of theRaleigh Police Department. "That's indicative of what's wrong with our pay right now. We're just people that came together with a common cause."

Raleigh's new police pay structure gives rookies a 2.5 percent pay increase before they even finish their training. That seems unfair to officers with seniority.

"When we give a pay raise, it should be completely across the board. That way other people that are coming in after us aren't making more than we're making," says Raleigh police officer Terri Amos.

Councilman Kieran Shanahan believes the city can solve the difference in police pay. He wants to give officers a five percent cost-of-living increase July 1, instead of having them wait until their anniversary date.

"I think it'll go a long way to addressing the disparity in pay between the entry level guys and the ones who have finished the academy and are out keeping us safe," Shanahan says. "This is a fair program to meet them a little more than halfway. Unfortunately, whatever we do is not going to be enough."

Shanahan says he will bring up his cost-of-living increase idea during a council work session Thursday. He believes the idea has the support of a majority of thecity council.

New Raleigh police officers may get another pay increase if the city council approves the latest budget.

Raleigh police are already among the best paid in North Carolina at $29,864. Durham police officers average $28,892, followed by Wake County Sheriff deputies at $28,000. Cary police make $26,936. Fayetteville police are paid $23,700 a year.


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