Atlanta Mayor Dickens announces bonuses for the city’s police officers

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Mayor Dickens also plans to give another pay increase to other frontline workers

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens is planning to provide new retention bonuses for police officers.

The bonuses will have no impact on the city budget because the administration plans to reallocate federal American Rescue Plan funds, according to the mayor’s office. Dickens also plans to use that funding to provide pay increases to the city’s other frontline workers.

“These pay increases are in recognition of the enormous dedication our police officers, firefighters and other frontline workers have shown to Atlanta,” Dickens said in a statement.

Law enforcement departments across metro Atlanta are struggling to retain and recruit officers due to several factors, including better private sector opportunities and anti-police sentiment after years of discriminatory policing. The Atlanta Police Department is authorized to have 2,000 officers, but an APD spokesman said they currently have only 1,524 sworn officers and 137 recruits.

Addressing retention and recruitment issues in the police department was a major issue in the 2021 mayor’s race.

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Miguel Martinez for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Police Department officers, investigators, sergeants and lieutenants will each receive $4,000 bonuses. Police captains, majors and chiefs will receive $1,000 bonuses.

The bonuses, which will be offered to sworn officers of all service tenures, will result in a total-year compensation increase ranging from 5.9% to 10.25%, according to the mayor’s office.

Additionally, eligible sworn employees in fire, police, corrections and E911 this week will receive $1,000 in supplemental pay through funding awarded to the city by Georgia’s Public Safety Officials and First Responders program. Workers who have been employed by the city since last August are eligible.

Dickens also plans to give more than 1,500 city frontline employees — including transportation, public works, parks & recreation and other workers — enhanced premium pay of $4.12 per hour over their base pay.

Premium pay of $3.12 per hour was instituted during the coronavirus pandemic but was set to expire this month, so Dickens wants to extend it and expand it by $1 per hour for the next year, the city announced. He is also extending additional premium pay to Department of Watershed Management frontline employees for a minimum base rate of $19.12 per hour.

City employees are also expecting an additional 2% citywide cost-of-living increase that was initially proposed in the mayor’s budget.

The administration consulted with the Atlanta City Council and city employee unions, including the International Brotherhood of Police Local 623, when considering the pay increases.

The Executive Board of IBPO Local 623 said in a statement that the union appreciates the administration’s commitment in furthering the city’s public safety goals.

“In his first five months in office, Mayor Dickens has shown that he understands the importance of recruiting and retaining qualified Police Officers,” the union said in a statement.

The latest pay announcements come ahead of a a citywide pay study for all departments in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.