Police Association says Lubbock officer pay is at center of retention issue
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Professional Police Association is in the midst of a campaign to obtain pay increases for Hub City officers, which it believes will solve an issue of keeping those officers in the Lubbock Police Department.
“We’ve lost almost 200 employees over not quite even five years and of those only 40 of those actually retired,” LPPA Board Member Brandon Price said. “The majority of those have been resignations, because they’re seeking other employment, other departments, higher wages. They get more compensation other places. You can work in other departments and the crime in those particular cities is actually lower than Lubbock and you’re making more.”
According to LPPA, Lubbock officers make 17 percent less than the average of other similar cities in Texas at $72,207. The starting salary in Lubbock is about $54,000, according to LPPA.
“We haven’t had a significant pay raise since about 2009 or 2010,” LPPA President Josh Reid said. “Then, we haven’t been addressing our retention issues of what keeps an officer here and pay is one of those deals. You can go to Midland and make more money and go to Abilene and make more money or you can go to Dallas-Fort Worth and make significantly more money. So, it’s trying to keep keep our good officers here that we’ve already spent money on to train.”
In an April 27 city council meeting Assistant Chief Neal Barron was asked by Councilwoman Latrelle Joy about what LPD needed from the council to make it safer for the citizens of Lubbock. He said LPD needs more officers and is struggling to fill the 465 currently budgeted positions. He told the council some officers do leave to other departments that pay more.
“We compete for a small number of applicants,” Barron said. “There’s not a huge number of people that are willing to be police officers, especially right now. So, that pool is very small, and we have competitive cities around us and that are close to us and even as far away as the Metroplex, Albuquerque and Denver that we have to try to pull people from to come here and even to stay here.”
The LPPA proposes using the funds currently allocated to the unfilled positions to pay current officers, avoiding the necessity to raise taxes.
“Our fear is that if we don’t do something about it now, then you’re going to have a really young department and you’ll have more people with less experience,” Price said. “We’re trying to maintain the experience we do have.”
The LPPA is calling its campaign Boost Our Blue and has set up and website you can see by clicking here.
The Lubbock Police Department released the following statement on the matter:
“We are aware of Lubbock Professional Police Association’s efforts to advocate for pay raises for LPD officers. The LPPA is a privately funded organization made up of Lubbock Police officers whose mission is to support the interest of its members.
The Lubbock Police Department is currently working toward many of the same goals as the association. Both pay raises and civilianization of positions have been discussed and plans to implement these items are underway. The department is aware of pay discrepancies between the City of Lubbock and other similarly-sized regional cities, which is why these two items are a priority for the department.”
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