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Lubbock police chief in favor of officer raises, says budget process will reveal how much

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Professional Police Association put the issue of pay raises for Hub City officers on the minds of city leaders and the public when it started a Boost Our Blue campaign in May. Lubbock Police Chief Floyd Mitchell tells KCBD he’s advocating for officer raises as well through the city’s budget process.

“I don’t fault them for going public with what they want to do,” Mitchell said. “From my standpoint, I am trying to handle it through the normal channels of the budget process and wait for my boss to tell me, ‘This is where we are. This is where we can get them this year.’ Then, I can communicate that to them.”

Mitchell said he’s had conversations with LPPA about pay discrepancies between Lubbock and other similar departments. The LPD estimates through its own research that Lubbock officers make 13 to 16 percent below similar agencies.

“We do want our officers to understand that they are truly valued and we want to pay them for the work that they provide to our citizens,” Mitchell said. “Me and my executive staff, we looked at our budget process and we kept our budget requests pretty tight for [Fiscal Year] 22. We did this to allow the city manager to look at our department and see that we’re trying to keep things as streamlined as possible to provide him any funds that he may need to address the pay.”

That $73 million budget submitted to city leadership includes a request for 465 positions, which is the status quo for the LPD. However, Mitchell said he included a request to civilianize 15 positions.

“We have very administrative intensive positions that we have law enforcement officers in: crime scene technicians, our logistics office that handles our vehicles and things like that,” Mitchell said. “If we civilianize those positions, meaning hire a civilian person, we can put them into that position, take that police officer and put them back on the street. Then we again have that officer back on the street that is answering calls for service or investigating crimes.”

Mitchell hopes that would help fully staff the LPD, which has been unable to fill the 465 positions. The LPPA proposes reallocating funds for some of the unfilled positions to help pay for the raises.

Mitchell disagrees with that proposal and feels the city can raise the pay in other ways, which he says could be an increase of $7 to 8 million. He says an substantial raise may have to be done over a few years and doesn’t believe it would cause a tax increase.

“I am not in favor of getting rid of 42 positions to fund raises,” Mitchell said. “That is in my view cutting off your nose to spite your face. We need to fill those positions. The way we go about filling those positions is addressing the pay. One can’t go forward without the other. We need those positions to put people out in the street so we have a higher visibility to address the crime.”

Chief Mitchell is unsure of when city management will conclude reviewing budget proposals. Budgets are often approved in September before the beginning of the fiscal year in October.

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