West Memphis Police and Fire will get a pay raise
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - In a battle to keep police officers and firefighters from crossing the bridge for better paying jobs, West Memphis city leaders have approved pay raises for first responders.
Council members went back and forth over the proposed raises despite all of them saying they support the measure.
West Memphis council members got a standing ovation after voting to give police and fire fighters a raise.
Patrolmen and lieutenants will get an extra $3 an hour, sergeants will get $3.50 added to their hourly rates bringing those salaries to $44,408 which aligns with what the Memphis Police Department pays $45,623.
The council also approved hiring seven additional officers.
Police Chief Robbin Campbell says they need to fill 13 positions, and Campbell foresees the need of an additional 25.
“Right now our crime is average to what it was last year comparably, however we are expecting crime to go up some with the addition of the Southland casino opening,” said Campbell.
Fire Captains and down will be the ones getting a raise taking them from $44,990 up to $51,008.
“One of the problem we were having wasn’t so much with hiring it was retention, we lost a few firefighters to Memphis and we lost some to Mississippi so this raise really brings us in a more compatible salary and be in line with what they are paying right across the bridge,” said West Memphis Fire Chief Barry Ealy.
The Memphis Fire Department pays close to $52,971.10 to firefighters after their first year.
The money for these raises comes from funds previously set aside to pay a total of 55 police officers, with eight positions never filled there was plenty of money available for the raises and the additional hires said Mayor Marco McClendon.
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