Pay raise on the way for patrol officers

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Uniform patrol officers and investigators with the Vicksburg Police Department are getting a pay raise.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved a 50-cent per hour pay increase for the officers from $13.65 an hour to $14.15 per hour beginning Jan. 3. The raise does not include sergeants, lieutenants and captains, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

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It also includes an additional 50 cents per hour raise for officers with associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees in criminal justice, public safety administration and law enforcement.

Flaggs said the raises will cost the city $49,000 for the remaining nine months of the 2018 fiscal year.

He said money will be moved in the police department budget to accommodate the raise.

“We hope this will help us from the standpoint of being able to recruit and retain officers,” Police Chief Milton Moore said. “We are greatly appreciative of them for agreeing to do this.”

The board discussed the pay raise at an Oct. 25 meeting. Flaggs recommended the raise after an earlier meeting with Moore, his deputy chiefs and the department’s patrol commander. During the staff meeting, Moore told Flaggs the present $13.65 was not enough to attract people to apply for entry-level patrol positions.

The police department is budgeted for 81 officers and presently has 61, with five officers at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy at Pearl. Department officials plan to announce an application period and testing sometime in January.

Flaggs commended the board’s decision to add the incentive pay for education, adding he wanted set a similar incentive for other city departments.

“I think that’s the right direction to go. I hope the fire department and everybody will take heed to this, because as you replace and as you try to grow your work force, you certainly ought to have in-house incentives for folks who want to go back to school and get a degree in job-related (fields).

“These kinds of benchmarks and incentives, this is how you grow a city; this is how you grow from within. Raising the expectations for employees and department heads.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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