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ATLANTA – Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced a comprehensive plan to raise pay for members of the Atlanta Police Department.
Bottoms, along with her administration and police Chief Erica Shields, announced a pay increase that Shields says she hopes will help the department not only recruit but maintain quality officers, something she says has been a problem in the past.
Those pay increases will start in January.
“We will provide an additional $10 million dollars for compensation,” Bottoms said during a news conference Monday.
The mayor said the investment is a loud message: your safety is a priority.
“This is an unprecedented step towards improving public safety in our city and I do hope it speaks volumes to our officers and to our communities that public safety is and will always remain a priority,” Bottoms said.
Shields said without the increase, Atlanta will keep losing officers to other, higher paying departments.
“It has led to high rates of resignation and more recently, it has served to complicate the department’s ability to hire new officers,” Shields said.
The city says the money will come partly from a reduction in spending and the raises will depend on rank.
“So, for each rank, it is slightly different. And obviously, there are tiers within the ranks as well,” Shields said.
The pay hike starts this January with a $10 million increase. Officers will see similar increases through 2021.
“So that the men and women who provide comfort and safety to our city can better provide for themselves and their families,” Bottoms said.
“This is essential, as the value of experienced officers cannot be overstated,” Shields said.
The police chief said this pay increase is historic and critical.
The mayor said she’s worked on this for months and will revisit police compensation every two years to make sure APD pay stays competitive.