“We are looking to complement the young, less experienced officers with seasoned and tenured veterans,” he said. Yandura said the inexperienced recruits haven’t led to department performance issues, but he is hoping his next hires come with at least three years of experience.
As part of the pay increase, the city increased the minimum and maximum salaries for the positions and adjusted pay for existing staff based on their history and experience, city spokesman Burke Brennan said in an email to the AJC.
“So, an officer who was hired four years ago with 10 years of experience before he or she got here might receive a larger increase than an officer who has joined the force two years ago straight from the academy,” he said.
The increase will be reflected in the first pay cycle in April.
Brookhaven is the latest metro Atlanta jurisdiction to increase its police officers’ pay.
In October, Atlanta City Council approved a 30 percent pay increase over the next three years for its police department. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners increased public safety officials' pay by 4 percent in November.
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Atlanta and DeKalb officials had bemoaned low police pay, citing it as a reason officers leave for other departments. Brookhaven had the same problem. The city first began recruiting officers in 2013, a year after it was incorporated. At the time, salary ranges were more competitive and salaries at the police department only saw a three percent increase in 2017.
“We still have great benefits and (police) equipment, but the pay structure didn’t increase as time went on,” Yandura said.
A recent study conducted by Brookhaven police and the city’s human resource department revealed the city had the lowest starting salary for officers, sergeants, and lieutenants when compared with other local jurisdictions.
Before the increase, officers and detectives made between $42,406 and $67,850. Now, they will take home between $48,500 and $71,792 annually depending on their experience and tenure, putting them in line with Atlanta police salaries.
Sergeants and lieutenants will make at least $86,665 and $98,852, respectively. They previously saw starting salaries at $54,166 and $61,752.
In an effort stay competitive, the city plans to review its officers’ training, certifications and performance evaluations every three years to assess if salary adjustments are needed.
“This is an important task. When we started the city it was a different time for the people, the police officers, and the economy,” said Brookhaven council member Bates Mattison of the pay increases. “Our police represent the most important service we offer as a city, and we need to be sure we are treating them right.”
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In other news:
NewsChopper 2 was over the scene where a car got stuck on Fairington Parkway south of Interstate 20 Thursday morning.