Citing problems keeping police officers working for the city, Portales Police Chief Jeff Gill successfully lobbied to attain a pay increase for certified police officers at Tuesday’s Portales City Council meeting.
The increase raises the minimum salary of certified police officers with at least six months training on the job to $24,000 from $22,546.
The pay increase takes effect the first pay period in November.
“It was felt by the administration and the council that it’s important to take care of those people at the entry level and through the ranks because they do most of the work,” Gill said.
The Portales Police Department has lost six officers in the last eight months, Gill said, and before Tuesday night the department paid less for entry level positions than the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department and the University Police Department.
With the increase the department will pay about the same entry level wages as other area law enforcement agencies, Gill added.
The police department will use approximately $24,000 already saved this year to fund the pay increases through July, the end of the fiscal year.
After that point, the city council will fund an additional $41,000 annually to account for the increase.
Gill added that he has had problems losing officers not long after the city pays $20,000 to send them to the police academy, a six-month process for certification.
Also at the meeting:
– The council approved a $108,566 bid from Heflin Construction of Portales to work on curb and gutter projects in the city.
Initially the bids for construction of the project were too high, city officials said, and council members opted to request proposals a second time.
Heflin Construction’s bid was nearly $60,000 lower than the second lowest bidder, K Barnett & Son’s out of Clovis.
— The council agreed to allow Municipal Court Judge Fred Arnold and the police department to use video to conduct arraignments from those incarcerated in the Roosevelt County Detention Center.
Magistrate Court in Curry and Roosevelt Counties already use the equipment, and according to Arnold this will be the first Municipal Court to use this technology in the state.
The system used at Roosevelt County Magistrate Court will be shared with Municipal Court the only costs the city will incur are for future damages to equipment.
Gill said the new system will save the police department money on transportation costs to and from court.
— The council approved $18,100 for Gordon Environmental, Inc., an engineering firm. The money will go toward planning costs, site selection and design of a proposed solid waste convenience center.
— The council approved a special use permit to Mike and Randa Running, who plan to operate a day care center at their home at 2110 S. Ave. I.
— Following a short executive session, the council voted to send letters to all city officials urging them to follow the open records act.