Glendale approves $11.1 million increases for police, but there's a catch

The Glendale City Council has signed off on three years of salary increases for police officers, culminating nearly five months of negotiations between the city and the union whose members had gone six years without a raise.

The agreement comes with an $11.1-million price tag, a cost that elected officials said was well-justified, offering an incentive as police agencies throughout the country struggle to fill their ranks. 

“I want the best police force that money can buy,” Councilman Ara Najarian said. “I will spend almost anything to protect my family, to protect your family.”

Approved on a 4-0 vote this week, the agreement kicked in Oct. 1, with police officers and sergeants receiving a 3% salary bump. That will be followed by another 3% hike in July and a 3.5% increase a year later.

Also, employees with certain Peace Officer Standards & Training certificates will earn an extra $125 a month the first year, plus an extra $150 a month in each of the following two years.

“It’s huge for officer morale and will hopefully prevent any of our officers from leaving this agency” for compensation reasons, said Sgt. Jason Ross, president of the Glendale Police Officers’ Assn. “At the same time, we hope it’ll continue to attract the best candidates out there.”

Locally, police are grappling with a jump in crime while working to fill vacancies. Three trainees recently turned in their badges after finding the stresses of the job too great.

Two quit after the July shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas during a protest over police shootings and three other officers were gunned down in Baton Rouge.

A survey comparing the salaries and benefits of police officers and sergeants in 10 other cities, including Burbank, Inglewood and Santa Monica, found that Glendale police officers fall nearly 12% below average.

“We’re not paying them more than the average. We’re not setting the trend,” Councilman Zareh Sinanyan said of the agreement. “We’re merely trying to catch up with it.”

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