The Chandler City Council passed a hefty pay raise Thursday for its police officers in an effort to keep high-quality recruits from going to work for other cities that pay more.
Starting next month, Chandler officers will see a 9.21 percent pay increase that boosts the department into the top four major cities in the Valley for officer pay.
Although the city is looking for ways to cut spending as it braces for an economic downturn, elected officials justified the pay bump as a way to improve public safety.
“Government’s number one priority is to protect its citizens, and it affects our ability to do that if we can’t recruit officers to work for us,” said Councilman Jeff Weninger.
As it stands now, Chandler police ranks at the bottom of the pay scale when compared with other cities in the Valley with population exceeding 100,000, according to a study completed by the city.
Currently, the starting pay for rank-and-file officers in Chandler is $46,571 and is capped at $66,571.
Under the new pay scale, officers will start at $50,860 and max out at $72,258 — leaving only Tempe, Scottsdale and Glendale as cities that pay their officers more.
The deal was brokered between city staff and the Chandler Law Enforcement Association, which represents rank-and-file officers.
However, the deal does not include the department’s lieutenants and sergeants, which are represented by a separate union — the Chandler Lieutenants and Sergeants Association.
It is unknown when the two sides will reach an agreement.