New police pay plan provides incentives to retain officers
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – The town’s Sworn Police Officer Career Development Pay Plan was suspended in 2010 following the economic downturn.
It stayed dormant for 2 1/2 years, but Police Chief Philip Potter said a new plan, to be decided at the Dec. 3 town board meeting, is best.
It entails three classifications: Police Officer 1, for officers recently hired, Police Officer 2, for those with five years of experience. With 10 years of continued service to the department or five years as Police Officer 2, they can be promoted to Police Officer 3 status.
When the plan becomes effective, Senior Police Officers will be reclassified as Police Officer 2, and Master Police Officers will be reclassified as Police Officer 3, but won’t immediately receive any bonuses.
Officers who earn an associate’s degree in law enforcement, criminal justice or related areas approved by the chief are eligible for a 2.5-percent increase in base salary as long as they apply between June 1-30 every year. Those who keep a primary residence in Huntersville can receive another 2.5-percent increase.
“It’s an incentive for (police officers) to earn extra money, stay with the town for a number of years and pursue a higher education,” Town Manager Greg Ferguson said.
He noted that the plan is typical of most police departments. Potter researched surrounding police departments’ pay plans before submitting the new proposal.
“The whole reason (for the pay plan) is for recruiting and retaining the most qualified and professional candidates,” Potter said. “There’s a highly competitive police officer environment in this area, and we want to be able to get the best officers we can.”
He said the new system would require a four- to five-year process before officers could move up a classification. He said the current career development pay plan gave officers a chance to move up in classes and pay scales before they were ready.
“We think this system is a lot more sustainable than the previous one,” Potter said.