Myrtle Beach police officers will be getting more money and future officers will be paid more as Myrtle Beach City Council passes a resolution to help with retention and recruitment.
Current officers will be seeing a nearly 10-percent pay hike at the end of the month.
Uncertified officers’ pay will be $40,000, up nearly $3,800 annually. Officers who graduate from the state Criminal Justice Academy will be paid $44,000, a $4,294 annual pay increase. The first class patrolman salary increases from $41,437 to $46,000.
The end goal, Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen said, is to offer competitive pay to officers that will aid in recruiting and keeping officers. The city’s goal is to add 10 new officers to the force every year for seven years.
Last year, Chief Amy Prock said, the department had 32 separations that include six retirements and 11 leaving the city force for other law enforcement agencies.
She said to meet the department’s goal of 70 new officers in seven years, the city actually needs 32 newly sworn in officers annually. The 32 positions would fill the annual expected natural attrition rate of 19 and three who quit or fail field training leaving 10 new slots to meet the annual goal.
Currently, Prock said, there are 304 members of the department. There’s 24 in administration, 42 in investigation, 123 in patrol, 47 in special operations and 68 in support services.
The challenge is keeping officers, not falling below staffing needs and keeping current officers. But, she said, only 10 percent of those who enter in the academy actually become police officers.
Pedersen pointed out that the city has “not turned down a single qualifying recruit” in about five years, but the need to put more officers on the city streets is increasing.
“This is not just a numbers game,” Pedersen said. “It is absolutely essential that our officers be top notch.”
Pedersen said paying for the 2018 fiscal year salary increase will be absorbed in the budget. He estimates the first year costs at $974,051. But it may mean a 3-mill tax increase in the future, he said.