Police Departments Struggle To Recruit Enough Officers

The City Council approved the pay increase on Monday, Aug. 14, in advance of the city kicking off labor negotiations in September for 2018 police salaries.

The city approached the union that represents officers and detectives prior to the negotiations because of recruitment and retention issues that Moorhead City Manager Chris Volkers said needed to be addressed before posting ads for job openings.

"We knew their salary was below market. We wanted to get that increased salary range approved and implemented so we can start recruiting with the more competitive, higher salary range," Volkers said in an email.

Officers currently start off with a wage at about $49,100, but that is increasing to about $51,000, according to numbers from a recent compensation study provided by Volkers. Detective wages are going from $49,100 to nearly $53,000.

Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger called this is a positive development. He said the past four years have been difficult for filling positions due to a lowered interest in people pursuing law enforcement careers and some "very good officers" leaving the department.

Last year, the council approved budgeting for two additional officer positions, and Ebinger said this latest pay hike further sends the department in the right direction.

Ebinger said his department is on its way to being fully staffed with 60 officers. He said Moorhead has hired 12 officers so far this year, and once three candidates pass their final exam, he anticipates them starting field training in September.

"We invest a great deal of money in training, and we don't want to lose them. We want them to stay here and advance their career with Moorhead PD," he said.

On Monday, Fargo city commissioners discussed increasing pay for city employees, including police officers. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney commented that officer wages aren't competitive enough with other cities.

Source : http://www.wday.com/news/4312950-moorhead-hikes-police-wages-boost-recruitment-retention

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