Police pay raises to begin next month

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2002

[02/05/02]Details of the plan to increase pay for Vicksburg police officers were approved Monday by city officials and will go into effect next month.

Chief Tommy Moffett told the mayor and aldermen about the plan, which includes raises based on quarterly and annual evaluations and other pay incentives. The plan will also go before the Vicksburg Civil Service Commission Feb. 13.

As Leyens has stressed, Moffett said, there will be no across-the-board raises for officers as Vicksburg moves toward paying officers here better than anywhere else in the state.

“Simply paying an individual more money does not make them perform better,” Moffett said.

Under the new pay scale, new officers will begin at about the same rate as today, about $26,000, and will be evaluated every three months. Raises will be given based on those evaluations.

Officers now on the force will be evaluated quarterly beginning April 1 and will get raises accordingly, Moffett said.

Also, the new pay scale includes various pay incentives for physical fitness, continuing education and other areas.

For example, new officers will start at about $26,000 annually and can make up to $31,000 after a year based on their evaluations. With the incentive pay included in the new scale, the same officers could make an additional $5,000 annually above the base salary, about $36,000 annually.

“We’re trying to do this as fair as we can,” Moffett said. “We want our officers to make more money.”

Moffett said that the evaluations that will be used to measure officers will grade performance in 20 areas, including grooming, attendance, knowledge, quality of written reports, initiative and suspect contact.

He said the evaluations and the pay scale were designed with the help of a committee of police officers.

Shortly after taking office, Leyens announced plans to make the Vicksburg Police Department the No. 1-ranked department in the state. Part of that plan included raising pay for officers and bringing in a new police chief and deputy chief.

While base salaries for officers will remain about the same as it is today, officers reaching the highest level of pay at the end of one year of employment would be the best paid in the state.

“You have really been making a big difference,” Leyens said to Moffett and Deputy Chief Richard O’Bannon. “And I am very proud of our police department.”

Along with the new pay scale, Moffett said that starting Wednesday the schedule for officers will be broken down into five shifts. The fifth shift will be time for training officers.

“We want people that are better trained,” he said.

The new plan for paying Vicksburg firefighters is also expected to be submitted to the Civil Service Commission at its next meeting, Leyens said.