AP NEWS

Louisiana city OKs police salary increase

February 27, 2020 GMT

VILLE PLATTE, La. (AP) — Police in a south Louisiana city are getting a raise.

The Ville Platte City Council voted Wednesday to increase officer’s starting pay from $11.63 an hour to $15 an hour. The raises go into effect immediately and will be reflected in officer’s checks on Friday, KATC-TV reported.

Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said police pay raises are the first step in getting a grip on crime in the city.

“We want to have eventually such a strong police force, such a strong police presence that they (criminals) don’t even think about coming to Ville Platte,” Vidrine said.

Though the mayor and council say the raise is needed to keep officers and attract new ones, there’s questions of why wasn’t this done sooner. Vidrine said the money has been available for raises, but she says the problem is the police chief has been mismanaging the budget.

“Since July, it has been in this budget and we have been urging the police department to look at the numbers and make this happen,” Vidrine said. “It did not happen, it has not happen and it’s February. I decided to take my pen, my pencil, the budget and a calculator to make it happen myself.”

Vidrine said there is room in the budget to hire at least four new patrolmen.

Police Chief Neal Lartigue did not respond to KATC-TV’s request for comment.