Qualified Albany police officers to receive pay bump

It will be a 5% raise.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:20 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Some of Albany’s police force are getting a pay raise. City commissioners are raising officers’ pay by 5%.

The pay raise includes those ranked captain and below that are post-certified.

Those who voted in favor of the pay raise say they are hoping to attract more officers to southwest Georgia.

“There’s been some increases around us and some jurisdictions close to us. But as a city, our officers have the highest calls for service than any law enforcement agency in Southwest Georgia. And so this was a way to recognize them. To try to retain our officers. To try to recruit new officers,” City Commissioner Chad Warbington said.

Chad Warbington is the commissioner for Ward 4.
Chad Warbington is the commissioner for Ward 4.(WALB)

Other incentives have also come into consideration, like housing.

Warbington says the Albany police department is around 30-40% understaffed. But they are hoping to change that soon.

“The thing we’ve done this year as well is we’re looking to hire a full-time police recruiter. Very similar to the way our military,” Warbington said. “They have full-time recruiters. And so we’re looking to hire a full-time recruiter that all they do is go around our state and around our country trying to recruit police officers to come to Albany, Georgia.”

The vote was 4 to 3. With some commissioners having some reservations.

“The city manager didn’t recommend that we do this because one of the things that happen when you raise somebody’s pay is we have other city employees who look at that and they’re going to want their pay raised as well,” Demetrius Young, city commissioner for Ward 6, said. “And it’s in the middle of our budget year. The new one starts in July.”

Young adds that he doesn’t believe the pay raise was needed at this time.

“The chief in our discussions and our work session said point blank that him nor his subordinates were asking for a pay raise,” Young said. “I think this stemmed from some of the commissioners felt the need to kind of “keep up with the Joneses” and raise our pay rate up.”

The pay raise comes in the middle of the city’s budget year. The new one starts in July.

Those opposed say they would’ve waited until then.

“We would definitely have done a pay raise. That pay raise would’ve been across the board for all city employees,” Young said. “We still have firefighters who are absolutely asking for pay raises. We have other folks who work in the utilities as linemen. They’re asking for pay raises. So right now, I think was just not an opportune time to do this.”

Young suggests finding officers within our own community. Particularly in hoping that young people will return back here after college.

But some commissioners say they’re feeling the pressure right now.

“The challenge with law enforcement is its kind of a national crisis if you will. It’s a national issue,” Warbington said. “And agencies all around us. Everybody’s raising pay and for us to stay competitive in the law enforcement area of employment, we’ve got to continue to stay on top of pay for our law enforcement officers.”

The pay increase is set to start in February.