Dillon will up its police officer pay to remain competitive with surrounding departments
The pay scale bump is necessary to 'bridge the gap' in the pay scale at the Dillon Police Department compared to other departments in the state, according to Police Chief Cale Osborn
The Dillon Town Council has agreed to adjust the pay scale for police officers employed by the town in an effort to remain competitive with salaries being offered by other departments in the state.
Police departments throughout the county and neighboring counties have pay scales that consider total years of service rather than just years of service with a particular department, Town Manager Nathan Johnson told Dillon Town Council at a meeting on Tuesday, May 17.
So, a police officer with five years of experience would start at most police departments on the fifth rung of the pay scale, Johnson said, but if they moved to Dillon from another department, they would start at the first rung of the pay scale. It will cost the town about $170,000 to make the pay scale adjustments to match other departments in the county, he said.
“This goes to our competitive edge,” Johnson said.
Dillon Police Chief Cale Osborn said that the pay scale changes are necessary in order to retain employees at the department but won’t negate the need for a discussion about police officer salaries in 2024.
“We can have someone that has three years (of experience) here but seven or eight total, but they can go down the street and make like $30,000 more day one,” Osborn said. “So it’s having a significant impact and could have a very significant impact in the very near future if we don’t bridge the gap.”
Osborn also noted that the Dillon Police Department already has officers with several years of experience, accounting for the cost of the changes to the pay scale.
“The cost that you’re seeing now is because almost our entire staff has that kind of experience,” Osborn said. “That’s what we’re paying for now, which really puts us in a really good foundation as we move forward as we grow.”
Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said she believes the pay increase is necessary in order to retain police officers but added that she believes teachers in the county should also be getting pay raises.
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“I think towns should run their own school districts so that we can pay teachers reasonable living wages like we are so eager to do with police officers,” Skowyra said.
None of the council members raised objections to the proposal to update the pay scale for police officers. Johnson noted that the town has $480,000 in unallocated funds from which the $170,000 cost for the pay scale bump will come from.
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