Cleveland ups ante to draw more police recruits, ease understaffing
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Cleveland officials have announced another set of pay raises for police officers.
The exact amounts differ based on an officer's rank but some salaries will increase up to 14%, on top of raises approved in 2022 and retention bonuses of up to $5,000 set aside from Cleveland's share of federal stimulus money.
Rachel Dissell, a reporter for the Marshall Project-Cleveland, said police officers have not been joining the force as quickly as they've been retiring, leaving the city with ongoing shortages.
"Shortages in Cleveland has meant that the officers who remain are getting paid a lot more overtime," Dissell explained. "If their shift ends and there's no one to replace them, they may have to stay in work longer."
Last year, the city of Cleveland estimated it would probably pay about $13 million in overtime, but by October, it had shelled out more than $20 million. Mayor Justin Bibb's administration said the raises, negotiated with police unions, bring the salaries of Cleveland officers in line with or above the pay of other cities and neighboring suburbs.
In exchange for pay raises, the city is asking officers to work 12-hour shifts, and has eliminated discipline for small infractions discovered while a civilian complaint was being investigated.
"That's important because Cleveland right now is operating under consent decree, which is an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice," Dissell pointed out. "Because Cleveland was found to have some problems with constitutional policing."
The city also recently doubled cadet pay to $24 per hour while the prospective officers are being trained. The pay hike is in addition to a $5,000 signing bonus city leaders credit for a 45% surge in police officer applications since August.
This story was produced with original reporting from Rachel Dissell for the Marshall Project-Cleveland, and was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.
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