The Village of South Jacksonville is exploring raising part-time police officer salaries. Outgoing Police Chief Tim Mann started the initiative in August of raising the salaries because the village’s hourly wage for part-time officers is not comparable to some area municipalities. Mann said in the committee of the whole meeting Wednesday night that some part-time officers who had been with the village for an extended amount of time and with special training had not seen a considerable raise over their tenure.
Village President Harry Jennings says that the board of trustees are trying to save the village money by not hiring more full-time officers: “We are just trying to be more competitive with surrounding towns and their part-time salaries. It just helps us keep our police department more active. That way we don’t have to grow our budget to have more full-time officers.”
Jennings says it’s also a way for the village to keep the current part-time officers they have on the roster: “When you have a department like ours, many times you are either hiring officers that are inexperienced that you’ll keep a year or two and then they will move on to a bigger department or if you have that higher wage, you can get some officers that maybe works at another department as a full-time officer but they can come over here on their off time and have that experience and training. We get the benefit from that experience by just paying them a bit better part-time wage.”
Currently, the village has 5 part-time officers on their payroll. The wages range from $16.97 an hour to $15.89 an hour. Full-time officers with the least amount of experience start out at roughly $18.51 an hour, but also are provided insurance and benefits. The full-time officers also have a union-backed contract with certified wage increases. The board’s general consensus was that they would await direction from new Chief of Police Eric Hansell before placing an action item on the agenda in October.