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Hammond city council member proposing pay raise for police officers

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 8:52 PM CDT
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HAMMOND, La. (WVUE) - When the Hammond City Council meets Tuesday to discuss and adopt the city’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget, one council member will propose a pay raise for police officers.

Councilwoman Carlee White Gonzales said today that it is time for starting pay for officers in the city to be more competitive with what’s offered in neighboring municipalities and parishes and that the city has the money to do it.

“We have some outstanding news in that the City of Hammond has done well financially during COVID, and we have funds to take care of some important objectives,” Gonzales said. “In addition to taking in more sales tax dollars than expected, we have federal funds that are earmarked for some much-needed capital improvements.”

Gonzales said that she’s proposing to add $600,000 into this year’s city budget for officer pay raises, noting that the department needs more employees to stay long-term.

“We are not competitive, and in fact, we are near the bottom when compared to many parishes and municipalities (smaller and larger than Hammond),” Gonzales said.

The first step for pay raises would require the council allocating funds for it and it would then be up to Mayor Pete Panepinto’s office to implement the raises, according to Gonzales.

Currently, starting salary for a police officer in Hammond is $29,331 annually or $14.10 an hour.

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