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Council passes ordinances to raise pay for Lafayette police officers

Council approves zoning change for new apartments
Posted at 7:26 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 23:33:06-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted to approve an ordinance that would give employees at the Lafayette Police Department a pay raise.

This ends a month long battle that will increase the starting salary of an officer from $34,600 to $40,000.

Everyone in the department excluding the police chief will see an increase.

More tonight on those numbers that police officers will be seeing.

Lafayette police officers will be getting a pay raise. LCG approved an ordinance tonight, calling for an average raise of 17 percent within the department. That includes a bump in starting pay for police officers, going from $35,000 to $40,000.

The raise comes at a cost of $3.8 million per year from the general fund.

Dozens of police officers were at LCG tonight anticipating the final vote. Lafayette police chief Toby Aguillard says this is something the department desperately needed.

"Big... it's huge, it's going to change the whole trajectory of the office in a positive way."

Aguillard hopes this move will help his department retain officers.

"We were losing so many of our experienced officers to other agencies that this will be a huge step to keeping our officers here."

But numbers provided to the council on police pay did not include factors that bump up police pay, like overtime and private details.

For example, KATC found one officer who was reportedly eligible to make $41,424; according to documents provided to the council, the officer actually took home $63,960 in 2018, which is a 30 percent increase.

Another officer, a sergeant, earned $107,442 in 2018. Documents indicate he should have made $69,960, receiving a 30 percent increase because of overtime.

A police corporal increased their salary by 32%, and made the extra $25,000 in overtime from events including Mardi Gras, a Christmas parade, court appearances, downtown details, festivals, etc.

We asked if the pay increase would limit the amount of overtime and details officers will need to work to make a living.

"Well we're going to have to look at everything and make a plan to move forward, certainly the increase of pay will cut down the availability of overtime."

The pay raises are across the board.

The largest increases, 15-19 percent, go to police officers, corporals, sergeants, and lieutenants.

Smaller increases of 8-13 percent go to captains, majors, and the deputy chief of police.

Other police personnel will get 2 to 20 percent, depending on their position.

"For example, no two corporals will likely make the same money, it does increase for various amounts, there has to be that differentiation between the ranks, that's to keep the ranks in place."