Raleigh police, firefighters say they aren't paid enough

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Rick Armstrong with the Raleigh Police Protection Association (WTVD)

The Raleigh Police Protection Association says there are 95 vacancies with RPD. The union says if the city doesn't increase their pay it will lose more.

Police say they are upset the city's proposed $96 million dollar spending budget for RPD does not include sufficient pay increases.

"They haven't made police a priority and that's a concern," says Rick Armstrong with the Raleigh Police Protection Association.

Raleigh firefighters are also disappointed. They say low wages are putting a financial strain and struggle on families and millennial firefighters who want to thrive in the City of Oaks.

"We work 56 hours per week. And most of us are forced to work a long hour part-time job," said Chris Ferrell, a senior Raleigh firefighter.

Both Armstrong and Ferrell say some police officers and firefighters are even squeezed out of town to live miles away from the city where they serve.

So they are publicly asking the city for a 5 to 10 percent increase to offset rising costs of living and city employee benefits.

"Our health insurance increases but the wages have been stagnant. Morale is low," Armstrong said.

According to the Raleigh Police Protection Association, starting Raleigh Police wages have fallen behind several Wake County towns with Raleigh coming in at the lowest.

  • Raleigh: $34,281

  • Cary: $40,456

  • Holly Springs $41,689

  • Knightdale: 41,497

  • Fuquay Varina: $39,624

  • Wake Forest: $38,309


Ferrell says starting firefighters make less than $33,000 a year and pay raises have dropped since he started eight years ago.

"To the city council I would just say, Raleigh is a great city and it's a city we cannot afford to live in," Ferrell said. "We are a part of what makes it a great place to live. Just don't leave us behind."

The city of Raleigh released a statement:

Public safety will always be a top priority for the City of Raleigh. This year the recommended budget includes up to a 3.5 percent increase in salary for all employees. We are actively engaged in a data-driven compensation study that will look to address any issues in our pay system for our Police Department and the other City departments that serve our growing community.

Both unions will express their concerns during city council meeting Tuesday.

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