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Auburn City Council grants short-staffed police department pay raises

With a unanimous "yes," the Auburn City Council voted Thursday to reduce that Auburn Police Department's 10-step pay scale to an eight-step one, granting officers who make below the top-tier pay a wage increase.

A language adjustment to APD's contract with the city was also made, easing restrictions on lateral transfers from other agencies. These changes will be in effect until June, 2022, when the department's collective bargaining agreement expires.

Prior to Thursday's meeting, the APD did not offer transfer candidates salaries higher than the old pay scale's step-four increment of $51,104. This restriction was removed in hopes to offer more attractive salaries to candidates from other agencies who may have years of experience.

Struggling with a short staff, the police department is hoping to better brand itself to recruits. The department had been budgeted as if it had a roster of 67 sworn officers, but between recent retirements, transfers, injuries and military deployments, 54 officers remain. The department hopes the new pay scale, which bumps up the department's starting wage from $39,263 to $44,766, will draw in more recruits.

The state has yet to announce the next police officer entrance exam, but Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler, who spoke to the council Thursday, said that when a date is set, the APD will "ramp up" its efforts in boosting its applicant pool.

About 130 (out of 150) APD candidates passed the civil service exam in September, but that pool has nearly been exhausted since then.

The Auburn Citizen:
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