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City proposes $4.2 million in police pay raises

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock is considering pumping another $4.2 million into the police department. This week, city council introduced an initial plan for next year’s budget. It includes an overall pay increase of about 10 percent for Lubbock police officers, making the department more competitive in our area.

“We’ll make a significant investment in Lubbock police pay, both starting pay and throughout the ranks,” Mayor Dan Pope said.

The proposal would raise salaries for recruits from $51,455 to $60,002, a 16.61 percent increase. For new officers, pay would go from $54,270 to $62,927, a 16.03 percent increase.

“This is a huge step forward. I’ve heard some comments this may be the biggest, the most that’s been done in 20 years,” City manager Jarrett Atkinson said.

Atkinson says this puts us at the top of the stack in West Texas and still leaves room for growth.

“But we’re vaulting up there. We’re ahead of Amarillo, El Paso, Odessa, our local agencies, largely but not entirely ahead of Midland,” Atkinson said.

The proposal also reduces the number of sworn officers by 5.

It civilianizes 15 positions that are currently held by law enforcement, allowing the following officers in mostly administrative positions to get back into the field.

One forensic investigative sergeant would become a civilian supervisor. Five forensic investigative officers would become forensic technicians.

Nine positions would come from the administration bureau:

The fleet logistic sergeant, who takes care of vehicles, would become a civilian supervisor. Two fleet maintenance officers would become civilian fleet technicians. One property and evidence sergeant would become a civilian supervisor. One property and evidence technician would become a property and evidence clerk. Two record ordinance officers would become property and evidence clerks. Two mobile operations unit officers would become crime analysts.

Councilwoman Latrelle Joy had some concerns.

“Are we going to be as good in the courtroom as we are now?” she said.

“Yes ma’am. Traditionally most law enforcement agencies of our size have civilianized these administratively-intensive positions,” Police chief Floyd Mitchell said.

Mitchell says from an academic standpoint, when civilians fill these positions their degrees far outpace those in law enforcement. He mentioned the department already has two civilian forensic investigators who graduated from Texas Tech.

Atkinson says this proposal is only the beginning.

“I expect we need to do this each and every year, with a greater eye maybe than what I’ve done in the past,” Atkinson said.

The proposed pay increase follows public concern from the Lubbock Professional Police Association about recruiting and retention. The association provided the following statement regarding the initial proposal:

“With the recently proposed 2021-2022 police pay scale, the Lubbock Police Department and City of Lubbock took a major step forward in addressing retention and recruiting for the Lubbock Police Department. The proposed pay scale affords the Lubbock Police Department with the ability to hire some of the best and brightest applicants, retain our experienced officers, and in turn more effectively address the violent crime in Lubbock. We want to thank the citizens of Lubbock and their outpouring of support for our officers. We truly do live in a great city and we are grateful for the continued community support. We also want to thank City of Lubbock leadership and Lubbock Police Department leadership for hearing our concerns and working so hard to address those concerns. This is just the first step in making sure that the Lubbock Police Department leads the way. We know that everyone involved in this process is committed to our officers and for the Lubbock Police Department to be the beacon of excellence in West Texas and across the state.”

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