Durham budget includes 'monumental' pay increases for police officers, firefighters

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Durham budget has 'monumental' pay increases for police, fire
"I'm glad to say that we're giving our employees a significant raise," the mayor said.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham employees are getting a pay bump after the City Council approved a $668 million spending plan Tuesday night, with sworn fire and police employees getting a significant increase.

"I'm glad to say that we're giving our employees a significant raise," Mayor Leonardo Williams said Tuesday.

Firefighters will see a 17.65% adjustment and police officers will see adjustments up to 22.5%.

"It's pretty monumental for us," Durham Police Department's Peter Smith said.

The new city budget comes as the police department looks to fill 137 positions, which is a quarter of the entire police force.

"Every unit in the department is short staffed right now," Smith said.

Smith, who's a recruiting officer, said the department would consistently be one of the lowest paid agencies at career fairs. However, the pay increase means better starting salaries that put the department in a more competitive position.

"$51,000 compared to $43,000 is a huge jump," Smith said. "The low starting salary was the biggest hurdle that we had to overcome at all our career fairs that we attend. So, this kind of finally puts us into the conversation with some of the surrounding agencies."

Durham Police Department is ramping up efforts to recruit officers through social media advertising. The department encourages those who are interested to join the upcoming virtual hiring event on Thursday at 6 p.m.

"I'm hoping this pay increase is going to attract more quality candidates to Durham," Smith said.