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St. Joseph County Police and Union asking for four percent raise

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Right now, the St. Joseph County Sheriffs Department is trying to play catch up.

“With other local police departments that have jumped ahead of us over the last few years," said St. Jo County Sheriff, William Redman.

According to Sheriff Redman, surrounding departments have jumped ahead in terms of pay.

"We want to stay competitive with our partners here locally so we can retain our officers that we have here," said Redman.

To do that, they’re asking the St. Joseph County Council to squeeze in a four percent raise in the 2020 budget, but how does St. Jo County compare to surrounding departments?

According to Sheriff Redman, if the department did get that four percent raise, new officers would still make about five thousand dollars less than a Mishawaka police officer in their first year:

2020 DEPARTMENTS SALARIES

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY POLICE
FIRST YEAR: $48,359
AFTER FIRST YEAR: $49,730
WITH 4% RAISE: $52,719

SOUTH BEND POLICE
FIRST YEAR: $49,058
AFTER FIRST YEAR: $54,122

MISHAWAKA POLICE 
FIRST YEAR: $56, 029 
AFTER FIRST YEAR: $58,079


That difference in pay is causing an unwelcome trend within the police department’s training process.

“We’ve just promoted 15 new people," said Redman.

While that sounds positive, once officers are promoted they go through an extensive 16 week training program costing the department about $32,000 per officer.

“Then they come back, they’re certified and then they leave to another department," said Redman.

After a three percent raise approved last year, will taxpayers back such a move?

“When it comes to my taxes ill gladly pay more for them to get what they need to take care of us," said St. Jo County Resident, Noah Hughes.

“They should definitely be getting this for all they do for the community," said resident Emily Hughes.

St. Joseph county councilman, Joseph Canarecci says its all a balancing act.

“Obviously, we respect the police officers a great deal and all of the work they do. We want to meet everyone’s requests but we need to make sure we’re being fiscally responsible and we’ll just continue to look at the best way to do the right things for everyone involved as we move ahead," said Canarecci.

“We still want to increase that because there was a huge gap there several years ago where other departments were receiving raises where we were not," said Redman.

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