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Study to take closer look at wages within BRPD

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BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Metro Council has approved a study to take a closer look at wages within the Baton Rouge Police Department.

According to Police Chief Murphy Paul, proper compensation is critical for recruiting more officers.

“We want the biggest selection pool that we can choose from,” Paul said. “What the pay study does is provide documented evidence that shows us where we need to be compared to other law enforcement agencies that have similar responsibilities."

With 44 vacancies within the department, recruiters find it difficult to sell just the benefits to first-time officers.

“There's all sorts of opportunities, even dive teams that some of the other agencies, the smaller agencies where they might make a little more money, don't offer,” said Sargeant Robert Knight, director of training for BRPD.

“Our benefits are great. I think that is a huge asset, but when you're trying to recruit officers to come to this department and you're competing with a smaller agency..." said Sargeant Rendy Richard with BRPD’s recruiting department. “Our entrance pay is less than a smaller agency, then that becomes an issue,” she finished.

For mounted patrol, crime scene, dive teams, and SWAT teams, some of the benefits also include the overtime policy.

In 2017, six officers more than doubled their salary in overtime pay, but Chief Paul says that will change once new officers hit the streets.

According to the chief, comparable agencies are BRPD’s biggest competition for new officers.

One of the biggest competitors is the Gonzales Police Department, where officers start out making more than $45,000, about 26 percent more than BRPD’s starting pay of just under $33,000.

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