CLEVER, MO — The police chief in Clever went before the city council and asked for better pay and benefits for his officers.
The city is considering his request, but denied a motion to offer better holiday time off for the officers.
Beginning officers in Clever make $12.50 an hour. That is almost four dollars an hour less than entry officers in the Springfield metro area.
Chief Darren Whisnant says that every two years the Missouri Police Chief’s Association releases a pay grade study for every department.
“I see what Seymour is starting out at, Sparta, Billings, other cities, Marionville, Aurora, all of those cities are starting out higher than what we are.” said Whisnant.
In his first year as chief, two officers have left the department.
“One went to the Marionville school district, he is the School Resource Officer, he left Clever’s school resource officer position. And another officer he resigned from here and went into construction where he can make some decent money.” explained Whisnant.
“The turnover rate, I think that we can help with that by taking care of our officers.” said Cecelia Fuller, who lives in Clever.
Whisnant brought the issue of officer pay and benefits up at the January 15th city council meeting.
Mayor Jaredd King says the city is looking into the chief’s request.
In a statement to KY3/KSPR news he said:
“The council made motions requesting the police chief and other department heads to gather pay and benefits information from neighboring communities and other towns similar in size to Clever as well as requesting each department to review their budget and bring any proposed cuts or changes to the budget meeting.”
“It is my job to let the mayor and city council know of these issues that way it is not a surprise when it is three years down the road when we can’t hire anybody. That is what we have to avoid, we have to start now so that we avoid that in the future.” said Whisnant.
But Whisnant’s request of better holiday time off for the police department was voted down.
“I give the city council the benefit of the doubt that they are not being unfair, they are not being unreasonable, that they will give this a second look.” said Fuller.
The board of alderman scheduled a budget session for February 12th at 6:00pm, in Clever City Hall.