Fort Wayne Police officer pay could start around $70K under plan to attract recruits

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A pay increase for Fort Wayne police officers could be on the way. This comes after the Fort Wayne City Council unanimously voted and approved a new contract for the department.

Why, though?

This all came about after a recommendation from the Mayor’s Commission on Police Reform and Racial Justice. The commission was started last summer and one of the reports showed that there was a suggestion for a pay increase for FWPD officers.

The contract is for three-years and will implement a 5 percent raise for each of those years. According to Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed, police officers’ base pay could increase to around $70,000 in the first year.

“We want to get that pay up there for not only the patrolman, and the last contract that passed for the PBA , but also for the FOPLC (Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council) because these folks do a great job,” Chief Reed said.

Fort Wayne Police Detective Steve Espinoza told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that this contract is the biggest increase the department has had in more than 25-years.

Currently for entry level officers salaries start at 56,694.64. For first class, an officer with one-year or more of experience starts off at $62,994.10.

Starting in 2022, entry level’s salary will increase to $59,528 , $62,505 and 65,630 during the three year contract. As for officers with experience their salaries will raise to $66,143, $69,451, $72,923

Council President Paul Ensley, (R-District 1), said the increase is needed to make FWPD more competitive when it comes to recruitment.

“I don’t know at the top of my head exactly where we rank, I want to say that we are not even in the top 30,” Ensley said. “Recruitment in recent years for the police department has been lower than it has been historically and it’s been difficult attracting and attaining qualified officers to our police department.”

WANE 15 previously reported that the department has been struggling to recruit new officers for the force, after the protests in 2020.

This salary will be for officers without a degree and patrolmen with a degree will get a bonus.
This contract includes the percent raise along with the working conditions and retirement benefits that were negotiated by the union.

“[The raise] It comes from our general fund,” Ensley said. “There’s a variety of funding sources for salary we have in Fort Wayne for public safety, that is collected with income tax. It comes from tax revenue.”

The contract was approved Monday night, but the council still has to approve the City budget that will allocate the funds. The vote is scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday’s council meeting.

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