Lubbock Professional Police Association proposes pay increase - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/31/09

Lubbock Professional Police Association proposes pay increase

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock Professional Police Association (LPPA) says their proposal to increase pay would not cut the number of officers the city currently has. In fact, they say it would leave room to add 28-more, but some Lubbock city leaders are against the plan.

"Currently, we have 60 vacant positions. We have a large number of retirements coming up and the current academy class that we have is seven," LPPA President Lane McClanahan says they want to recruit and retain, but he say salary is a problem. McClanahan says other departments in Texas offer more, making the Hub City less attractive to new recruits. "We just want to try and fill those vacancies so that we can better serve the public," McClanahan said. 

The association's proposal to increase pay, which they say would make Lubbock more competitive, and hopefully attract more recruits, works like this: the department is authorized to have 422-officers. Right now, they have 362.  That means there are 60 vacancies.

The association says dozens of those positions have been vacant for years. So, they've proposed lowering the number of officers to 390. That would still allow them to hire 28-new officers, but their plan would keep the current budget for police salaries the same. So the city would still fund 422-positions, but they would only have up to 390 officers. That additional money would be used to provide raises. "The thing that the public needs to understand is that this last year, we returned $1.6-million in unfilled vacancy funds that were allocated to those officers that are not filled," McClanahan said. 

"We want to be competitive; we also have to live within a budget." Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein said.  Klein says he'd prefer not to lower the number of officers. He says it's important to analyze the situation to make sure the right departments are compared to Lubbock's when looking at competitive salaries. "We want to be able to make sure we're comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges, so there will be some cities that are going to have a much smaller force and much higher per capita income. Plano may not be the best comparable city to Lubbock," Klein said. 

"We do not want a tax increase. So, if we don't have a tax increase, the only other option that we can reasonably find is to reduce our authorized strength from 422 to 390," McClanahan said. 

"Once you've fought hard to establish a certain number of positions, you don't want to give them away in order to move the money. I'm not ruling it out at this point, but I'm very reticent to go in that direction," Klein said.  The decision whether or not to move forward with LPPA's proposal is now up to the city council.

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