The New Haven Police union said that low pay and benefits are the reason 34 officers left in three years. Police have been without a contract and pay increase in over two years and are headed to arbitration next month. In a rare move as part of the drive for better benefits the union has taken out two digital billboard ads near the intersections of I-91 and I-95.
One billboard states, “Low pay police don’t stay” according to Craig Miller president of the local union. Police Chief Anthony Campbell stated the police are down 85 officers and is expected to get worse by the end of the year. After more retirement at the end of the year police may be down 130 officers.
Miller said this falls back to a public safety issue. Miller went on to say, “We need to be fully staffed to protect the public, to perform our duties as police officers.”
The second digital billboard ad states, “In three years, 34 officers have left New Haven for better pay or benefits.”
The starting pay for officers is around $44,000 and according to Miller may be the lowest pay for law enforcement in the state. According to the City of Hartford’s website the starting pay for police officers is $49,851. According to policeapp.com the city of Bridgeport’s starting salary for police officers is $47,164.
In an article by NBC Connecticut they spoke with Mayor Toni Harp who stated “Members of the New Haven Police Department comprise what I believe is the best-trained and most effective law enforcement agency in Connecticut.” She further told NBC Connecticut in a statement, “The current, binding arbitration process will yield a new contract to provide them with appropriate compensation for their efforts given the city’s current ability to provide that compensation.” Mayor Harp recently defended handing out pay raises to her staff.
Mayor Harp recently granted her staff pay raises that ranged from two percent to almost 28 percent. These records were obtained by NBC Connecticut and state the records were obtained from a local government source. The highest raise was given to an executive administrative assistant.
The top paid employee on the list is the city’s attorney who will now take home $161,250 followed by the city’s health director who will make $155,875. A majority of the raises for the 37 employees are 7.5 percent. Seven of the salary bumps are greater than $10,000.
Mayor Harp recently diverted nearly $4,000 from the city fire department to obtain uniforms from for her administrative staff. These funds were intended to outfit firefighters with protective gear and uniforms according to an article by NBC Connecticut. Two receptionists and one mayoral aid received a combined total of $3,959 of the diverted funds.
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