By Morgan Bryce
A warm round of applause followed the Opelika City Council’s unanimous vote to approve a pay raise effective immediately for all Opelika Police Department personnel, which they can expect to see as a part of their mid-November paychecks.
Conversations about pay raises for OPD personnel began internally within the last two years, according to Mayor Gary Fuller, part of a plan to hire and retain the best law enforcement and ensure lasting security for Opelika citizens.
“Our citizens deserve the best police officers. Opelika is such a wonderful place to live, work, worship, raise our families, educate our children and play,” Fuller said in a statement. “We expect our police officers to live here and become immersed in our community. This will help keep great officers in Opelika.”
In the past, newly hired officers would make nearly $40,000 annually. With the approved pay raise, that salary is bumped up nearly 13% or $5,000 to $45,000.
Following are projected pay-raise figures provided by the city, broken down by rank, hourly pay, first minimum and maximum salaries:
- Chief of Police – $47.60 hourly rate/$99,000 (first minimum)/$148,500 (maximum)
- Assistant Chief of Police – $43.75 hourly rate/$91,000 (first minimum)/$136,500 (maximum)
- Police Captain – $39.90 hourly rate/$83,00 (first minimum)/$124,500 (maximum)
- Police Lieutenant – $28.10 hourly rate/$63,000 (first minimum)/$94,500 (maximum)
- Police Sergeant – $25.87 hourly rate/$58,000 (first minimum)/$87,000 (maximum)
- Police Officer II – $22.75 hourly rate/$51,000 (first minimum)/$76,500 (maximum)
- Police Officer I – $21.41 hourly rate/$48,000 (first minimum)/$72,000 (maximum)
- Officer in Training – $20.07 hourly rate/$45,000 (first minimum)/$67,500 (maximum).
Police Chief John McEachern said he believes these pay raises place OPD among the top-five highest paying departments in the state, something he believes will pay dividends for years to come.
“For too many years, the Opelika Police Department has been known for its great training and/or equipment provided for the officers, only to lose those officers to other departments due to pay issues,” McEachern said. “As police chief, I have always been very thankful and appreciative of the support given (OPD) from the mayor, city council and all citizens of Opelika. The police department can not do its job without the support of everyone, and we are very fortunate to have that support.”
During the same meeting, the council meeting approved a pay raise for Opelika Power Services lineman.
For more information, visit www.opelika-al.gov.