Pay raises pass for police officers, E-911 workers
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council approved the action
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – During Thursday’s Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting, all but one council member voted in favor of Mayor Linda Gorton’s proposal for pay raises to Lexington’s police officers and E-911 workers.
The lone “no” vote coming from David Kloiber, who challenged Mayor Gorton in November’s mayoral race.
“No on number 3 and yes on the rest,” says Kloiber.
With the vote passing, police officers and sergeants will receive an $8,000 raise, lieutenants and above will get $5,000 and E-911 will get a $4,000 annual supplement. Gorton hopes more money will help the city with public safety retention.
“We need to be competitive with the surrounding police agencies,” says Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers. “We can’t be competitive with every police agency simply because I don’t know what everybody else’s resources are.”
However, not everyone is happy to see more money going toward law enforcement.
“The previous raises and $10,000 in bonuses didn’t improve retention but, hey, why not gamble another $26-million of taxpayer funds? Fingers crossed, I guess,” says Jess Bowman to the council. “What happens when that $26-million runs out and council still has to cover those new contracted salaries? Where will the future funds come from? Homelessness intervention? Affordable housing? Paramedicine program? The thousands of other city employees?”
Some people in the community say Lexington already has one of the highest-paid police departments, yet that hasn’t done anything to curb the city’s rapid rise in violence, crime and homicides.
“There are always going to be those people out there who are willing and want to commit crime but there has to be somebody there to maybe slow it down,” says Weathers. “That’s what we hope for. We hope we can get there in time, we hope we can get there maybe before something happens and if we don’t we hope we can apprehend them.”
While the raises passed are only for police officers and E-911 workers, Mayor Gorton says raises will be offered to fire and corrections officers soon.