KC Police Commissioners seek to guarantee salaries for new officers, provide pay raises


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police commissioners are trying to guarantee salaries for more than 1,400 officers and provide pay raises to keep officers from leaving the job.

For years, the police department has used its salary account to pay for everything from lawsuit settlements to spare parts for the police helicopter. Now, police commissioners are working to approve a budget that would provide about $135 million in salaries for police employees, with a commitment not to spend that money on anything other than uniformed officers and support staff.

The budget also would include pay raises for police to help stop a growing number of officers from leaving the job.

This has been a source of friction with the city council because elected leaders often believe they are fully funding the police department and providing pay raises, only to learn later that the ranks are dwindling and raises didn’t happen because police shifted money from salaries to settle lawsuits or pay for other perceived needs.

“Every budget I have voted on, it has said 1,412 officers,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “So one may ask: Why do we only have 1,200? Why do we keep declining in numbers? In every one of those it has also had space for salary increases. So why aren’t we seeing pay raises?”

This change is going to mean police will need a larger contingency fund to cover costs that used to be paid from the salary account.

Commissioners are expected to determine how much that contingency fund should be when they continue their discussions Friday.

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