Coming to terms on pay E-mail
Written by APB staff   

“I’ve got to look at what’s good for the entire organization and at the same time, solve the problems in the police department,” Richard Morton said. “And, upon looking at the numbers, our salaries compared to other cities, it was apparent we were short on starting officer pay.” These remarkable words were spoken by the Odessa, Texas city manager as he announced a pay raise of close to 14 percent for the city’s cops.

The increase puts Odessa behind only Lubbock ($3,797 per month) in the so-called “Pick 6” cities for starting pay.

At $3,383 per month, Odessa is now tied with Midland, and ahead of Wichita Falls ($3,367), Abilene ($3,311) and Amarillo ($3,228). “We were able to come up with competitive salaries with the other cities in our area,” said Corporal Terry Mercer, the president of the Odessa Professional Police Officers Association

"This going to be a win-win situation for the city, but it’s going to create a situation where we can compete for more officers.” Morton agrees that the raise will help recruit more officers but added that it won’t be a cure-all for the department’s recruitment problems. The Odessa P.D. has 20 vacant positions.

“The benefits are excellent, the pay is competitive, but the problem is the police officer shortage not just in Odessa, but in Midland, throughout Texas and a large part of the United States,” he said.

The city will pay for the raise by hiking the property tax around 8.35 cents per $100 valuation; for a $100,000 home that amounts to about $67.

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