Following City Council action on Tuesday, April 6, the starting salaries for police officers will be raised in September when a new class enters the Greensboro Police Academy.
The raise was proposed by Greensboro City Manager David Parrish and was praised by most members of the City Council. The motion by City Councilmember Justin Outling to approve the raise and additional raises so new recruits don’t end up making more than officers already on the force passed by a unanimous vote.
The raise is from $38,987 to $40,212, or a raise of $1,225 a year. The stated purpose of the raise is to help Greensboro recruit a sufficient number of officers, not simply to keep up with attrition but to fill the open positions. Police Chief Brian James told the City Council that the number of authorized police officers is 683 and that he currently had 611 fully trained sworn officers on the force.
The Police Department normally graduates two Police Academy classes a year and the normal attrition rate for officers is about 60 per year. So to stay even each class needs to have 30 officers graduate and then complete field training. James said they needed classes with 40 people for the next couple of years to get back to full strength. Recent classes have graduated less than 20.
This raise is supposed to make it possible to more than double the size of the Police Academy classes. James said that the biggest obstacle to recruiting new officers was the pay, and when you look at what other police departments in the state are paying, it doesn’t appear a $1,225 raise is going to be enough.
The starting salary in High Point will still be higher, at $40,357, plus High Point offers a 5 percent salary increase for an associates degree and a 10 percent increase for a bachelor’s degree.
So someone with a bachelor’s degree would start in Greensboro at $40,212 and in High Point at $44,392.
In Raleigh, someone with a bachelor’s degree starts at $43,620.
In Charlotte, the starting salary with or without a college degree is $45,757.
In Cary, the starting salary for a police officer is $48,800 and can go as high as $59,716 for those with experience, education and training.
In Huntersville, for someone with a bachelor’s degree the starting salary is $46,168 plus a 2.5 percent increase for living in town and 5 percent increase for being bilingual.
A raise from $38,987 to $40,212 won’t even make Greensboro police recruits the highest paid in Guilford County, much less the state.