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Study finds Baton Rouge police significantly underpaid compared to other departments

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BATON ROUGE - A study ordered by the metro council one year ago has found that there's a multimillion-dollar pay gap between Baton Rouge's police officers and many of their peers in neighboring cities and parishes.

The results, shared by BRPD Wednesday, compare the pay of the department's roughly 700 employees to those of 10 other groups. Those include other agencies like the New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Gonzales Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

The study shows BRPD's salary ranges are about 16 to 40 percent behind their peers based on rank. The average Baton Rouge officer's salary after one year amounts to $38,979. The department drew a direct comparison between that and the average Gonzales officer's pay of $51,000.

The release from BRPD says the pay disparity is a huge factor in losing officers to other neighboring agencies. The department says raising the officers' pay to meet the average would cost about $14.5 million annually.

The mayor released a statement shortly after the study was published, saying her office is working to identify savings to help ensure the department "is running as efficiently as possible."

"Over the past two years my administration has directed nearly 20 million dollars in new vehicles, radios, public safety equipment, and body camera equipment toward BRPD to support the department and its officers. I will continue to support our police department and its men and women in blue who put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis. They deserve to be compensated in line with their peers, and my administration is working diligently to address the disparity in their compensation," the mayor's statement read in part.

The study was originally approved by the East Baton Rouge Metro Council last year after Chief Murphy Paul said better compensation was critical for recruiting more officers.

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