A proposed compensation restructure is designed to be a market leader at the recruit level and at all sworn ranks. - PHOTO: City of Phoenix

A proposed compensation restructure is designed to be a market leader at the recruit level and at all sworn ranks.

PHOTO: City of Phoenix

A proposal that will go before the Phoenix City Council next week would, if approved, raise the annual starting pay for a police officer by $20,000.

According to a statement by the City of Phoenix, the goal is to improve officer retention and aid recruitment to address the current shortage of sworn law enforcement officers in Phoenix.

The proposed compensation restructure would allow the city to start recruits at a higher rate, $68,661 compared to the current $48,942. By similarly streamlining the system of starting salaries and pay grade steps from recruits to assistant chiefs, officers will have increased earning capacity throughout their careers. The city reports the department’s current police recruit pay is approximately 7% below the market average.  This plan would make salary ranges approximately 10% higher than any other law enforcement agency in the state.

“Our goal in Phoenix is to be a world class city, and that means using the tools necessary to build a world class police department. In other words, to hire the best, we need to pay the best," said Mayor Kate Gallego. “As we attract these top-notch officers, we must also expect the very highest level of accountability to meet the expectations of our community."

If approved, the plan will provide all sworn Phoenix officers with greater earning potential, while also ensuring that no officer experiences a decrease in pay when transitioning to the new pay structure.

“This not only increases both the starting and maximum salaries, it also simplifies the pay structure, rewarding those who choose this noble profession," Public Safety and Justice Subcommittee Chairwoman Ann O'Brien said. “Phoenix is the largest city in the state, and our officers should see a salary structure which reflects that. With this change, our officers and recruits will be some of the highest paid in the state.

The salary restructure comes as the result of an assessment the city began last year of its employee pay structures. While the study is still not fully complete, it found that the sworn police pay structure needed to be adjusted to not only make the city competitive but to attract the most qualified candidates for the difficult work required of police officers.

The city has completed similar assessments for other employment classifications that resulted in pay grade changes over the last year.

The enhanced police pay structure must be approved by the Phoenix City Council during its Wednesday meeting. The proposal would take effect Aug. 8. The increases associated with the restructured compensation package will be absorbed by the current city budget.