Mar 17, 2014 11:38 AM by Steven Albritton
Lafayette Police have enlisted a state legislators help to get higher salaries. Entry-level Lafayette police officers make $2,663.40 a month. Compared to smaller cities in the parish, that's less than the starting salary for Broussard PD and it's within a couple hundred dollars of the smaller cities police forces.
Police Entry-Level Monthly Pay
The hope is officers in Lafayette, stay in Lafayette. According to the U.S. Census, Lafayette is experiencing a population boom and having more people requires many things including a stable police force. Representative Joel Robideaux of Lafayette has put together a bill to hopefully keep LPD compensated and in a LPD uniform.
"Lafayette is a great town and our economy is doing well, but it does put a lot more strain on the police force and, like i said, the private sector is competing for those officers now," Robideaux said.
Robideaux says the Lafayette Police Association approached him saying they were paid similar or less than smaller cities in the parish. They asked him to author a bill which would give them 2% raises, but a stipulation was put in to make it more fiscally responsible.
"We said that the only time that you would be eligible for it is if the city of Lafayette has a sales tax increase of 3% or greater. That would trigger the 2% raise," Robideaux said.
At least one council member says there could be issues if the bill is passed as is in the legislature. LCG council member Kenneth Boudreaux says he supports law enforcement, but also says this may not be the right time for this legislation. Other services like the Marshall's office and Park Police should also be considered in the conversation since the bill only mentions the police department.
"At the end of the day, you cant spend money you don't have, and you don't have to spend money because you have it," Boudreaux said.
The 3% trigger happened seven times from 2002-2013. Boudreaux says, if police received raises in consecutive years, it could get to a point where the budget couldn't support the higher salaries.
"When the sales tax goes down and they don't receive it, the budget is still obligated to maintain it (salaries). I think we look at the books. I think we see what's best. I think we see if we can afford it and if we can. If we can afford this and if we can sustain it going forward with the performance that we do,. well then I think we give it strong consideration," Boudreaux said.
The proposed legislation has been added to discussion for Wednesday nights council meeting.