Police Association hears citizen comments on plea for pay raises
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Advocates for Lubbock police hosted a town hall to discuss the “Boost Our Blue” campaign, expressing the need for officer pay raises with the community. Lubbock Professional Police Association members say the current pay is a driving force behind retention problems, causing experienced officers to leave the force.
“We’d like to use the money that’s been budgeted for years that hasn’t been used at all, and increase our officers pay. And essentially invest back into our officers that we have here, because we haven’t done that in almost two decades,” president Josh Reid said.
LPPA is negotiating with the city for raises, reporting some Lubbock officers make 17 percent less than the average of other similar cities in Texas. The Lubbock Police Department has been unable to fill its 465 positions, and LPPA wants to use the funds from some of those unfilled positions to foot the bill.
Former district attorney Matt Powell says most community members are concerned about two things: how this will improve public safety, and what’s it going to cost.
“And money that is already budgeted for that, not one dollar of taxpayer money, additional taxpayer money would go to fund those raises that are desperately needed for these men and women,” Powell said.
“A relatively small amount now will save you tons of money down the road in training,” another Lubbock resident said.
Police Chief Floyd Mitchell says he’s not in favor of getting rid of positions to fund the raises, but agrees that pay needs to be addressed to fill them.
Others had questions about Lubbock’s retention rates, asking for more information to be made public.
“I didn’t see what the average retention for Lubbock is compared to those other cities,” one community member said.
One citizen says the community needs more details on how much this would actually cost and if it could come from another part of the budget.
“But it’s coming on the heels of city council budgeting and agreeing to a brand new police headquarters to the tune of $16 million with a dedicated gymnasium,” she said.
Chief Mitchell and Councilman Steve Massengale were at the town hall. LPPA is asking you to write them and council members what you think about the plea for higher pay.
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