HEMET, CA – A 4 percent pay raise for Hemet police officers is not a lot of money, especially when it is restoring the 4 percent cut enacted last year.
But it could mean something to a force facing demands from the public to reduce crime and pressures from City Hall to help trim an impending $3 million budget shortfall.
When the Hemet City Council voted this week to amend its contract with the Hemet Police Officers Association putting back the money it had cut from officers’ pay, Chief David Brown was ecstatic.
“To me,” he said, “the most important piece of this message is the message it sends to our officers that our community and our council do believe in them, they do believe in the long-term viability of the department and that piece of it is gong to help with retention and recruitment just as much as the amount” of the raises.
Thirteen officers have left the department in the last four years, Brown says, and 12 of them said they were leaving because they couldn’t afford to work here.
To punctuate the point, he said, 12 of them took jobs with other area law enforcement agencies.
“That’s an indicator that they are moving for financial reasons,” he said.
The police union released results of a survey it did in February of police pay in cities it considered comparable to Hemet, icnluding Corona, Riverside, Banning and Indio.
Hemet’s cops earned $67,368 a year. Only Blythe, where the pay is $65,164 a year, was pay lower.
Indio cops were making $94,668.
Even with restoration of the cut pay Hemet officers are not likely to move to the top of the list, but the chief believes there is something to say about being loved.
I suppose the officers would say that love doesn’t pay the bills.
From The Press-Enterprise