Springfield boosts efforts to attract, keep police offficers

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

City manager, union president changes will make Springfield competitive.

The city of Springfield and the Springfield Police Division unions have a new three-year contract, and both sides agree the pact will incentivize recruitment and bolster retention for police officers.

The city has increased some hourly compensation and committed to pay raises in the future. New officers will now receive a nearly $5 increase in starting compensation at $30.58 an hour, up from the former starting pay of $25.76. Top pay for officers was also raised, to $38.30 an hour from the former $34.39, a nearly $4 increase.

“Public safety is a vital service we provide to our community. The people in uniform who serve us do so with servant hearts and a solemn understanding of the tremendous responsibility of the career,” Chief Allison Elliott said. “It is critical that we do all we can to offer competitive compensation and benefits, comprehensive training and state-of- the-art equipment so our police officers can safely and effectively carry out their duties.”

The new pay figures will continue to be increased at a 3.5 percent rate over the next three years, said City Manager Bryan Heck.

“At the end of that three-year term, our top pay for police officers will be $41.02 per hour, which is $85,327 annually,” said Heck. “Combined with our excellent benefits package and retirement plan, these new rates should help us recruit and retain officers in what has become an incredibly tight and competitive market.”

As City Commissioners approved the new contract during their last meeting, Springfield Police Patrolman Association (SPPA) President Chris Armstrong agreed and expressed appreciation to city officials for support of police officers.

“This contract is going to help us retain officers and attract new officers to help us fill the shortage that we have,” said Armstrong. “We appreciate the partnership and support in trying to move forward once again to make us a premier agency.”

He also offered praise to the commission for the appointment of Elliott as the new chief.

“This appointment has brought tremendous leaps and bounds for us in terms of support and bringing a positive attitude to the SPPA agency,” Armstrong told commissioners.

The city is currently accepting applications for police officers through Feb. 8 and actively accepting applications for lateral transfers from other law enforcement agencies.

To learn more about the police officer position and view application materials, go to www.springfieldohio.gov/jobs.

Gun violence

In addition to approving the new police contract, city officials approved a new initiative involving the Springfield Police Division, Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Clark County Prosecutor’s Office that seeks to address gun violence in the community.

The three local arms of public safety are joining together to seek a $240,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice as participants in the Crime Gun Intelligence Center Initiative (CGIC).

Elliott explained that the goal of the collaborative effort is to improve evidence-based practices across all three entities in order to solve gun crimes in the Springfield and Clark County communities.

The initiative was developed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and is designed to prevent violent crime by identifying perpetrators, linking criminal activities and identifying sources of unlawfully used guns for investigation and prosecution.

Participating state and local agencies are funded through a competitive grant program that enables them to integrate with their local ATF centers to use intelligence, technology and community engagement to swiftly identify unlawfully used firearms and their sources. The targeted outcome is more effective prosecution of criminal perpetrators, supporters said.

Through interagency collaboration, local law enforcement participating in the program can also decrease the incidences of gun crime, improve gun crime, investigation and prosecutorial outcomes, leading to increased public trust and confidence in law enforcement.