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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Springfield City Council voted Monday night to approve a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiated between the City and the Springfield Police Officers’ Association (SPOA)/ Fraternal Order of the Police Lodge 22. The union membership voted to ratify the agreement last week.
The new CBA, effective July 1, 2021 and lasting until June 30, 2024, includes increases to officer pay and benefits and comes on the heels of a 3.5% pay increase City employees (including SPOA members) received In January 2021. The most significant increase is to Police Officer starting pay, which is being raised to $46,009 ($22.12/hr) from $40,497 ($19.47/hr). In addition, recruits will now be paid $19.90 per hour while attending the police academy. Merit step increases (averaging 4%) were approved for all eligible SPOA members, and those at the top step of their respective pay schedule will receive the following pay raise: Officer-3%, Corporals-2%, Sergeants-1%. SPOA President Andy Zinke said, “This contract was a collaborative effort between the City of Springfield and the Springfield Police Officers Association prioritized to address our recruitment and staffing shortage. Currently, we are understaffed and filling those positions is a priority for the safety of our city and our police officers. We look forward to ongoing engagement with the City Council and members of the community to find ways to better compensate officers with over 5 years of experience, because retaining professional officers is just as critical as hiring new ones. We are proud of this City and commit to protecting everyone to the best of our ability.”
EarlIer in June, Chief of Police Paul Williams presented an updated police officer recruitment plan for 2021-2024 to address the Springfield Police Department’s severe staffing shortage. “This is an issue affecting law enforcement agencies across the country, and requires a bold and a creative approach to recruit quality candidates,” said Chief Williams.
Noteworthy updates from the recruitment plan include a recently implemented revision to the Uniform and Appearance Regulations policy, which now allows officers to have visible tattoos while in uniform.
The recruitment plan calls for the implementation of a “retention pay” program. Under the program, each new police officer will be eligible for up to $5,000 after five years of service, paid out in annual installments of $1,000 on the anniversary of their date of hire, contingent on an overall satisfactory performance evaluation.
SPD is doubling the current amount of relocation assistance available to new hires, which will now include the cost of temporary housing as an allowable expense in addition to moving expenses. The new amounts are as follows:
POLICE RECRUIT & LATERAL APPLICANTS
Increasing the amount current employees can earn for referring a new police officer is also included. Currently the program offers $500 to City employees who refer an applicant that is successfully hired. In 2021 that amount was increased to $1,000 for employees who refer a lateral police officer candidate. The City will increase that to $3,000 and include not just laterals but any police recruit, provided they are hired, graduate from the police academy, and complete the field training program.
The minimum requirements for applicants are also being adjusted. For years SPD has required a minimum of 60 hours of college credit as a base requirement. Due to the academic rigor associated with the SPD police academy, programs were developed with several local universities to provide college credit hours for SPD academy training. However, those who already have 60 college credit hours find it difficult to utilize these programs; and research showed this caused a loss of interested candidates who have some college credit, but not the 60 hours currently required. SPD will reduce the minimum number of college hours necessary to apply to 30 semester hours from an accredited college or university. SPD will encourage recruits to seek and obtain an Associate’s Degree (generally 60-65 hours) upon graduating from the Academy, or soon after.
Military veterans who have served at least two years active duty and received an honorable discharge have been and will remain eligible to use their military service in lieu of the minimum educational requirement. The new plan will extend that option to applicants with four years of military service in the National Guard or the Armed Forces Reserve.
Of the changes,some have already been implemented and others will go into effect July 1, 2021 with due to City Councils approval of the new CBA, . Chief Williams stated, “ The new plan has been under development since the beginning of 2021 and I’m pleased with the result. Combined with the pay improvements made as part of the contract with the SPOA, and with the support of City Manager Jason Gage and the members of City Council, I look for an immediate increase in the pool of applicants for the January 2022 police academy class, as well as future recruit classes”
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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352.