GPD will raise wages ahead of Prop P funds, new officer hired at new rate of pay

Linda Trest

Police Chief Jim Helton won approval from the Board of Aldermen to increase pay for his officers. Officers are currently hired at $11.25 per hour with an increase to $12 after completing a six-month probationary period. 

Helton proposed a starting pay rate of $13 per hour, increasing to $13.75 after probation. For a normal 40 hour work week, this would come to $28,600 annually. 

“Gasconade County pays their deputies just over $30,000 with no overtime,” Helton told the board. “We would be neck and neck with them and overtime would push us past them.”

The department should have four people. Helton said that he figured four people at the new pay rate for the rest of the year. Even with a full department, he will still have a $6,000 cushion in his budget.

Since September, there has only been a chief and one officer.

Franklin County voters approved Proposition P in April which will provide funding to all law enforcement agencies in the county. A one-half cent sales tax increase in the county will raise the funds.

The Gerald department expects to see about $60,000 of that money, beginning in January 2019. That increase in funding will pay for the wage increases after this year.

“In order to hire good officers, we have to become somewhat competitive,” Helton reasoned.

The board also approved the hiring of Taylor Brown as a second officer on the force. She will start May 14 at the new beginning rate $13. 

Officer Rich Anderson has completed his probationary period. The board agreed to raise his pay to new regular rate of $13.75.

The chief will not benefit from any pay raise this year and noted that with overtime pay, his officers could earn more than him. 

“That’s okay,” he told the board. “We can talk about a raise for me when the Prop P money comes in.”