DeKalb police and firefighter pay raise plan revealed

DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond is proposing pay raises for more than 900 experienced police officers, firefighters and 911 employees, boosting their salaries by an average of $5,275 a year.

Thurmond wants to give targeted raises to public safety employees who are underpaid compared to their peers. Lower-ranking officers and firefighters wouldn't receive a pay increase, and neither would police majors and captains.

The pay increases are designed to prevent first responders from leaving DeKalb for better-paying jobs elsewhere, according to the proposal.

The county government provided details of the pay plan this week in response to a request by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The raises cost $1.6 million for the last four months of this year and $4.8 million annually, according to Thurmond's mid-year recommended budget.

“The proposed salary scale structure will target adjustments among sworn employees most at risk of attrition,” according to the proposal. “This initiative is strategically focused on those employees who are a higher risk of leaving the department for better job opportunities.”

Master police officers, sergeants and lieutenants would see their pay increase between 1 percent and 13 percent, depending on their years of service. Salaries for the county’s 321 master police officers would range from $46,928 to $58,660.

About 130 employees below the rank of master police officer wouldn’t receive raises. DeKalb pays early-career police officers $40,270 on average — lower than Atlanta and Fulton County but higher than Cobb and Gwinnett counties

Raises for firefighters range from 4 percent to 17 percent, and 141 master firefighters would be promoted to the new rank of driver/operator and command technician, which comes with a 5 percent raise. Their salaries would range from $44,535 to $53,668.

Among 911 employees, shift supervisors’ salaries would go up by more than 18 percent. Other 911 staff would receive raises between 3 percent and 10 percent.

Thurmond plans additional improvements for public safety employees’ pay and benefits over the next three years. Those changes could include shift differential incentives, hazard duty pay and yearly pay increases.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners received Thurmond's $1.27 billion budget recommendation Monday and plans to vote on it July 11.

Read The Public Safety Pay Proposal