City officers upset over rate of pay

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By Mercy Lopez

The Las Vegas Police Officers Association is up in arms over the city of Las Vegas. The association and the city have been in negotiations for a new union contract and cannot come to an agreement.

Speaking on behalf of the association, officer Chris Lopez said the only issue the union is pushing is a five percent increase in pay, or roughly 80 additional cents per hour for officers.

In a written statement from Lopez, he said, “Both negotiations teams have met with a mediator and still did not come to an agreement.”

In a telephone interview on Sunday morning, City Manager Tim Dodge said he cannot go into specifics regarding the negotiations since they are going into arbitration. He did say the city has implemented pay studies throughout the city employees to ensure fair and equitable compensation.

Dodge said, “I hope we can resolve the difference on where they think they should be and where we are at.”

Lopez said the city’s residents are facing numerous problems due to not being able to come to an agreement.

Lopez said the numerous officer-involved shootings around the state have made officers think about if they are in the wrong field by risking their lives for roughly $16 an hour.

He said, “LVPD enforces that laws, we get beat up, we do our job, we don’t get backed up, we go out day after day not knowing if it will be our last.”

Within the last several weeks there have been seven officer-involved shootings throughout the state most recently late last week in Santa Fe. Including one in Roswell where three law enforcement officers were shot at and injured.

“Since the recent shootings in New Mexico officers are re-thinking why they should continue being police officers because of the every day dangers involved is not work the pay,” Lopez said.

He said the local department operates normally with three officers on the streets at any given time causing increased response time to emergency situations. Lopez said the local police department has about 24 uniformed officers.

Lopez said the take home pay an officer takes home has decreased recently due to increased costs of insurance, the increase of the cost of living and the employee share into PERA.

Lopez said, “Basically, we are just trying to survive.”

He said several officers have not received their increase in pay as per the amount of years they have in due to the contract being impasse. He said the recently increase in utility rates with the city of Las Vegas has affected the officers as well.

Additionally, several other police departments offer incentives and higher pay for licensed officers that are enticing officers to leave to other parts of the state.

Lopez said, “officers are leaving for higher paying departments and still live in the Las Vegas area.”