Atlanta mayor looking to sweeten package to promote retention within police department

ATLANTA — Mayor Andre Dickens has said he wants to add an additional 250 officers to the force before the end of the year.

Councilman Dustin Hillis thinks the money could be used to pay current officers.

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“We really need to have anywhere from a 10 to 12 percent raise for the Atlanta Police Department,” he said.

Atlanta city councilman and Public Safety Chairman Dustin Hillis says the city needs to give police officers a 12 percent raise or risk losing some of the officers already on the force to higher paying jobs.

“That would be a 6 percent increase this year, and 6 percent the next fiscal year,” he said.

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Hillis said officers got a significant raise five years ago, but since then, the cost of living and inflation have skyrocketed, and the number of officers retiring or leaving APD for another metro department continue to be a problem.

An officer’s starting salary is $48,500, can the city afford a 12% raise?

“When it comes to public safety, I believe it’s a raise the city has to afford,” Hillis said.

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Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston asked Dickens if this was a raise the city could afford.

“The budget process is not done,” Dickens told Channel 2.

He said the city is doing a better job of holding on to the officers they have, but he wants to finish looking at all options, even though the department is down 25% of its desired 2000 officers needed to cover all the crime.

“Whether it’s 6 percent or more, or whether it comes in the form of some bonuses or some other things, a nice package that we are putting together,” Dickens said.

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