PPOA Turns in 4,000 Signatures for Their Petition

by Michael Stafford
NewsWest 9

ODESSA -  It appears there will be an issue on the May ballot calling for an 18 percent pay increase for Odessa officers.  

On Monday, members of the Professional Police Officers Association turned in 4,000 signatures to the City Clerk.  The City Clerk will begin validating those signatures beginning on Tuesday.  

Officers only needed 2,500 registered voters.  The issue will go before voters in May and if voters say yes that 18% raise would take effect on Oct. 1st, 2008.  

There are opponents, however, who say they don't want their property taxes to go up to pay for these proposed raises.

"Let's look at the numbers.  Let's see as far as if we have the 18 percent raise where's that going to make us as far as being competitive to other agencies.  That's our goal for this whole process, we have to be competitive.  We have to get good qualified applicants to apply with our city and we need to have something to draw them in here and ladies here.  We're losing to many qualified applicants and too many good officers to other agencies," Terry Mercer, with the Professional Police Officers Association, said.

One city official told NewsWest 9 by phone that officers have already received a 39 percent pay increase over the past 4 years. He didn't think they deserved another 18 percent.

But the officers say not only do we deserve it.  Odessa officers start out making 32,000 dollars a year, they need to stay competitive or the Odessa Police Department will not get any new recruits.