Scottsdale police officers asking for equal pay

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. --  The Police Officers of Scottsdale Association wants pay equal to that of other agencies around the Valley, and is petitioning the city to consider sworn personnel separate from other municipal employees.

Veteran Scottsdale officers who have six years on the streets earn about about $1,000 a year less than entry-level Tempe recruits who don't have any experience.  

"It's insulting to the officers," said James Hill, president of POSA. "They've got to think that 'if I'm not valued here, why don't I go start over at another agency.'  We have about 1/3 of our officers making less than Tempe recruits."

POSA wants Scottsdale, which doesn't have collective bargaining, to consider police benefits packages different from other city employees, mostly because of the dangerous nature of officers' job.

The city is reviewing the draft of a study comparing Scottsdale with other markets in the area.  Once the final version is approved, which should happen within the next couple of months, it will be submitted to the City Council.

"We're going to ask for the policy decision of whether we want to be pay leaders, or if we want to be average.  Without a destination of where you want to be in the market, building a pay program for any specific employee group, or all of the employees, is somewhat putting the cart before the horse," Scottsdale Human Resources Director Terry Walker said.

"We're going to lose to other agencies," Hill said. "Instead of being the best of the best, we're going to be what's left of the rest."

Some officers already have left. Scottsdale was allotted nine seats in the last police academy, but could only fill seven.