Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Police get wage increase

Chief: The raise will help recruit officers, retain existing staff.


August 16, 2017

Tucumcari Police Department employees will receive a $2.50-per-hour raise across the board in a move Police Chief David Lathrom says will save money in reduced overtime and training expenses.

The city commission on Thursday unanimously approved the raises.

Lathrom said the raises were needed to help retain existing police officers and recruit new ones. The department is down two officers at present and is at nearly double the amount budgeted for police overtime pay, he said.

Police departments in surrounding communities, including Santa Rosa and Clovis, he said, pay officers in the range of $18 to $20 per hour, compared with Tucumcari’s $15.26-per-hour pay for certified officers.

The result? “We train officers for other departments,” Lathrom said.

That’s because Tucumcari pays to train officers, Lathrom said, and after training, officers too often hire on with other departments.

In all, he said, the $2.50 pay raise would cost $89,143.60 per year. That would be more than offset, he said, by savings of $33,936,95 by avoiding excess overtime, $51,954.43 in unused pay for sergeants and corporals and the $35,000 per officer training cost.

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Lathrom said, the department hired six new officers. At the end of the year, he said, there were two openings, based on 12 officers allowed in the police department’s budget, he said.

First District Commissioner Ralph Moya said officers would still be spending time in court and working cases after their regular hours, so the savings may not materialize.

Lathrom said that the department had “blown through” its $39,000 overtime budget and had overspent it by $33,000, about 86 percent more than budgeted, in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Moya made the motion to authorize the hourly increase, and the commission voted to enact it.


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