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Columbia City Council approves pay raise for CPD


Columbia City Council members approved a bargaining agreement Monday with the Columbia Police Officers Association that would give pay increases to officers and sergeants.

According to the council's agenda, Columbia representatives and CPOA reached an agreement to contract amendments concerning pay compression, fiscal 2025 pay adjustments and establishing a lateral transfer policy. The contract amendment had been voted on and approved by the CPOA and just needed the City Council's approval.

ABC 17 News asked Columbia Police Chief Jill Schlude about the process to get this agreement done and she said it was the smoothest process been involved in with collective bargaining.

Columbia Police Officers Accosiation president Matthew Nichols also spoke to ABC 17 News about this process presenting the council with a similar plan. He says they've been working towards this for several years.

"We've asked for a similar plan. over the course of the last several years," said Nichols. "We've never been able to come to an agreement. And the current agreement that we have is not what we asked for, but it is progress towards what we are trying to achieve."

Now that the contract has been approved, the new pay scale will take effect after the first pay period, which will be on April 14.

After the contract was approved, CPD posted its new annual salary rates to try to attract more applicants for lateral entry, or those with prior law enforcement experience. Schlude says they've already received interest from applicants.

Entry-level pay for police officers will increase from $27.50/hr to $28.85/hr. Entry-level pay for sergeants will go up to $38.84/hr. The plan also provides a 2% pay increase for every year the person works at their position.

Officers would reach their max pay of $36.99/hr after 13 years, and sergeants would reach their max pay of $46.60/hr after 9 years. Any members currently above the top pay will remain at their pay rate.

Schlude was hired under a lateral entry program when she first started at CPD before it went away and Schlude says this agreement will reinvigorate it. "Really showing people up front in some of our graphics, like where they could potentially enter the pay scale at and so I think it's going to be really good to get people in the door and get them interested in CPD," said Schlude.

Columbia police leaders have said for years that they've been struggling with recruiting and retention in part because of pay.

Schlude said they've had 37 vacancies and at one point it increased to the low 40s before they were able to make a few more hires.

Schlude said, "the vast majority of those (vacancies) are in the patrol division, because that's the largest part of the police department. We carry vacancies in other units, traffic detectives. Everybody is kind of sharing the pain, I guess you might say. but obviously a lot of our a lot of things that I think people get frustrated with are solved by just having the department staffed."

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Jazsmin Halliburton


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