HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s capital city is having difficulty retaining police officers, losing them to other municipalities that pay higher salaries.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse says he began contract negotiations with representatives of the Fraternal Order of Police more than a year before the current contract expires to gain additional time in figuring how to keep current officers.
“We know there is a potential crisis,” Papenfuse said. “I am a big believer we have to increase salaries across the board and create avenues for advancement that maybe are not there currently.”
Papenfuse says the city does not have unlimited resources but wants to take care of city officers.
“We have stable growth and revenue of about 2% a year,” he said, “but we can’t have our expenses increase at too fast of a rate. Otherwise, we will be right back where we started from financially “
The mayor says there is another concern that may turn into a significant issue next year. Senior officers eligible to retire in 2020 may receive a 10% pay increase.
That option will expire at the end of that year.
Twenty-five officers could take the incentive and cause a mass exodus if the incentive isn’t extended. Some officers have told ABC27 that they are monitoring new contract talks to see how it plays out.
Papenfuse says the ongoing talks will address both issues. He hopes both sides can create a solution attractive enough to help retain both young and senior police officers.