Under a new plan to be approved by the Mayor and City Council, Phoenix Police Department salaries will become more competitive with other public safety agencies in the market. The goal is to improve officer retention and aid recruitment to address the current shortage of sworn law enforcement officers in Phoenix.
The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday approved pay raises for all officers in the department by at least $20,000 a year. The motion passed 8-1, with councilmember Carlos Garcia being the lone dissenting vote. Garcia, from District 8, voiced concerned about boosting the pay of the police as opposed to other city departments.
The compensation restructure is designed to be a market leader at the recruit level and at all sworn ranks. It would allow the city to start recruits at a higher rate ($68,661 compared to the current $48,942). By similarly streamlining the system of starting salaries and pay grade steps from recruits to assistant chiefs, officers will have increased earning capacity throughout their careers. Currently the Phoenix police recruit position is approximately 7% below the market average; this plan would bring salary ranges approximately 10% higher than any other law enforcement agency in the state.
“Our goal in Phoenix is to be a world class city, and that means using the tools necessary to build a world class police department. In other words, to hire the best, we need to pay the best,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “As we attract these top-notch officers, we must also expect the very highest level of accountability to meet the expectations of our community.”
The plan will provide all sworn Phoenix Police Officers with greater earning potential, while also ensuring that no officer experiences a decrease in pay when transitioning to the new pay structure.
“This not only increases both the starting and maximum salaries, it also simplifies the pay structure, rewarding those who choose this noble profession,” Public Safety and Justice Subcommittee Chairwoman Ann O’Brien said. “Phoenix is the largest city in the state, and our officers should see a salary structure which reflects that. With this change, our officers and recruits will be some of the highest paid in the state.”
The salary restructure comes as the result of an assessment the City began last year of its employee pay structures. While the study is still not fully complete, it found that the sworn police pay structure needed to be adjusted to not only make the City competitive but to attract the most qualified candidates for the difficult work required of police officers.
The City has completed similar assessments for other employment classifications that resulted in pay grade changes over the last year.
The updated pay structure will take effect August 8. The increases associated with the restructured compensation package will be absorbed by the current City budget.
Phoenix has been making an concerted efforts to fill open positions, including offering a $7,500 hiring bonus for new officer recruits.