Connect with us

U.S. News

Plano increases police salaries



PLANO, TX – At a City Council meeting on Monday night, council members approved a new minimum pay scale increase for some Plano police officers for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

This will apply to recruits, sergeants, lieutenants and assistant police chiefs, which account for 58 of the 414 current sworn-in Plano PD officers.

The increases are as follows:

  • Sergeants: an additional 50 cents per hour, which amounts to $89 per month and $1,059 per year. There are 40 sergeants in PPD.

  • Lieutenants: an additional 57.99 cents per hour, which amounts to an extra $100 per month and $1,206 per year. There are 16 lieutenants at PPD.

  • Assistant police chiefs: an additional $1.5367 per hour, which amounts to an additional $3,197 per year. There are two assistant police chiefs at PPD.

  • Recruits: an additional 31.97 cents per hour, which amounts to an extra $55 per month and $665 per year. Plano PD Public Information Officer David Tilley said he was unsure of how many recruits there might be this year. At the moment, there are seven open positions.

  • Police officers and the deputy police chiefs will not receive a salary increase.

  • The total increase in salaries for the positions listed above (not including future recruits) amounts to $68,050 for 58 of 414 current Plano PD officers.

According to Jason Gregorash, principal budget analyst for the city, this is a 1 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

Last year, the city of Plano increased civil service (fire-rescue and police officer) salaries by 3 percent. Due to economic strain brought about by the pandemic, this year that increase will only be 1 percent.

City Media Relations Director Steve Stoler said the reason for the increase is to keep police compensation competitive “with other North Texas cities.”

Between 2018 to 2020, Plano has increased the total amount of compensation for police officer salaries by $2,184,090 and added six full-time positions, according to city documents.

Budget Director Karen Rhodes-Whitley said while there are no salary increases set for the 2020-21 fiscal year in the vast majority of departments, Compensations Administrator Caressa Marquez said that the entire pay plan for city employees is going to see an adjustment this year that provides a new minimum for certain employees. If the pay they receive is below the new established minimum, their pay will increase. The pay scale will apply to positions such as lifeguards and some civil service (fire-rescue and police) ranks, but there will not be a general across the board salary increase for city employees.

In previous years, Marquez said the city has generally raised the minimum pay for police officers annually.

“Our philosophy is median (salary for that position) plus 5 percent,” Marquez said.

In a time of civil unrest and increased national (and even local) protest about the current law enforcement system, this increase may be perceived as a political statement by some — although Plano has a track record of incrementally increasing civil service salaries, so this decision is not unique to 2020.

Other police departments both in Texas and across the nation have had to answer to the same question: How will local governments keep their communities safe, and will that be primarily through a traditional police force?

The Austin City Council slashed a third of its police budget in August, opting to “reimagine” public safety and have unarmed civilians perform some duties that police previously oversaw.

In Dallas, police spending will increase overall in the next fiscal year, but the overtime budget for officers was cut. According to reporting from the Texas Tribune, some of the overtime budget will be used to “(address) root causes of crime and (improve) street lighting.”

Just down the road, Mayor Jeff Cheney of Frisco expressed back in July that he had no intention of divesting funding from the police.

This summer, Frisco swore in six new police officers in the middle of a wave of national and local protests decrying police brutality that also called for defunding the police.

Plano had its own rallies this summer with protesters demanding divestment from the police.

In Plano the police receive the largest cut of the city’s operating budget by far, accounting for approximately 26 to 28 percent of the total operating budget for the last six years, according to the city’s interactive open budget dashboard.

In addition to the 1-percent increase in police salaries, the city also increased salaries for some civil servants in fire-rescue positions: appointed assistant fire chiefs will receive an additional $1,577 annually and firefighters who have been working with the department for at least 24 months will receive an additional $1,679 annually.