Mayor Henderson discusses proposed plan to increase law enforcement and first responders’ salaries

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COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) – Questions and concerns have been raised about the salaries of law enforcement and first responders in Columbus. Mayor Skip Henderson hears your concerns about the topic.

“Our biggest challenge in public safety is – I hear it from the first responders – is that there’s a compression issue. We’ve got some people who’ve been there five years who are earning as much or more than people who may be supervising them, who may have been there 10-15 years,” Henderson says. “One of the first I things we really need to do is get a pay study done and it needs to be done by a third party so there’s complete confidence in it,” he says.

Right now, a Columbus police officer’s starting pay is $40,588; compared to other competing cities with Columbus population density: Auburn is at $43,863 and LaGrange is at $42,515. Harris County and Phenix City average about $33,000 because of the smaller population.

“We’ve got to find a way to make sure the mid-level and upper level have a solid structured pay plan so that they know that they’re steps that are going to be in order and that there’s going to remain to be separation between them and the people they supervise,” he says.

The proposed comprehensive pay plan that will guide the government on how to fund existing officers. “It’s something we stay very involved in dealing with. We’ve got to be committed to continue to look for wages to pay them a fair wage so they can live a good quality of life as they serve the citizens of this community.”

Henderson says there are a lot of other things that the government could work on with Columbus’ public safety. He says he’s spoken to first responders and law enforcement about things that will make their job more enjoyable that will give city council the time to put the plan together.

“We know that our personnel across the board is not paid what their true value is,” he continued.

News 3’s Shaquira Speaks will continue to update this story as it develops.

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