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Joplin Police Union Hopes Results From Salary Study Make a Diffe - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police Union Hopes Results From Salary Study Make a Difference at City Hall

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Joplin, MO -

Members of Joplin's police union hope results from a study done on salary make a difference at City Hall.  Joplin police union members contacted other police departments for salary comparisons.  Union members say the JPD has been struggling for some time with police officer recruitment and retention.  

Results of this study seem to confirm what union members say is the problem.

"This brought the empirical evidence to light," says William Davis with Joplin's Fraternal Order of Police.

Davis isn't talking about a crime, but new data compiled by the police union.

"It really brings to light the fact that the FOP, for years, has been saying the police department at Joplin has been overworked and really underpaid," says Davis.

Ten cities were selected based on population, number of officers, and how many calls their police departments get for help.  St. Joseph, Missouri; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Bentonville, Arkansas; and Blue Springs, Missouri were some of those cities.  

"It's unfortunate that we can't say we're even on average," says Davis.

The starting salary of a new Joplin police officer (about 35,000) is about $8,000 less than the average of all the rest of the cities (about 43,000), yet Joplin handles about 17,000 more calls for service a year.

New Joplin corporals (about $36,000) make about $13,000 less than the average of all the rest of the compared cities (about $49,000).

Starting Joplin sergeants (about $42,000) also make about $13,000 less ($55,000).

New captains ($49,000) make about $18,000 less ($67,000).

New majors ($54,000) start at about $21,000 less ($75,000).

A new chief ($72,000) makes about $22,000 less ($94,000).

"It's widely known, even the city manager has put it out, expenditures are exceeding revenue," says Davis.

The City of Joplin has been putting together a priority-based budget system.

"So basically you just take a closer look.  You start prioritizing things and saying, now these are things we have to do," says Joplin City Councilman Gary Shaw.

"We've talked about it for years, and we still don't have it in place," says Davis.

But Shaw says priority based budgeting is almost ready to be implemented.  Both Shaw and Davis agree, it'll be an important part of soling police pay concerns.

City Manager Sam Anselm says he's working on a proposed pay plan for police and fire, but doesn't have an estimated financial impact yet.  He hopes to have that by the end of this week.

Click here for the full study done by the Joplin police unionThe Joplin Fire Department also did a similar study.

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