The Baltimore Sun is reporting a tentative agreement between Baltimore and its police union that would cut vacant positions from the department while raising officer pay, a shift intended to stop officers from leaving for better-paying agencies.

The proposed three-year contract marks a sweeping change for an agency that has struggled with vacancies as it lags behind nearby Baltimore and Howard counties in officer pay.

"My No. 1 priority is reducing violent crime in the city," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "I believe this new contract will help us toward that goal."

The contract raises officer pay by at least 13 percent across the board by mid 2015, addressing police officers' No. 1 complaint, according to a recent in-house survey.

"This shows they have support," Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said. "This agreement makes us competitive."


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