Pay Raise on the Way for OPD, Firefighters

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Odessa Police Officers will be seeing some extra cash in their pockets. That's because, the city council has unanimously approved a pay raise for police, firefighters, and other city employees. And many are saying the pay increase will help Odessa become an even better city.

Nearly 14 percent - That's how much more the city council said the police officers will see starting next month.

"It's going to be a positive. It's going to be positive for the city, and it's also going to be positive for the police department," said Corporal Terry Mercer, a member of the Odessa Police Department and the Professional Police Officers Association.

Positive, because members of the PPOA have been working for months to get community support for a pay raise on the May ballot.

"From the time that the signatures on the petition were certified to the time that the council meeting yesterday, staff, me, the city manager, had to have time to sit down with the Police Officers Association and provide an alternate proposal to the 18 percent across the board," explained Richard Morton, the Odessa City Manager.

The new deal will include increases on April 1st, and then in October. And a lot of the pay raise will go towards Sergeants and Corporals.

"That's a step in the right direction. We hire these new officers. They get on the street. They know from day one, when they stay with this agency, they know if they're there two years, four years, six years and so forth. They know what their salaries going to be," said Mercer.

But the biggest idea behind the plan is staying competitive with other cities.

"And the reality is, we are short officers, and we are, we were behind on what we call our

'Pick Six' cities as far as starting officer pay," said Morton.

"With the pay raise, that's going to be an incentive to start. And I honestly believe that with the things that are set forth now by the city council, and sitting down with the city manager, I think that we can honestly start towards making Odessa Police Department one of the top agencies in West Texas," added Mercer.

City officials still don't know for sure how much your property tax will go up. But for all the police officers, firefighters, and other city employees who will get the pay raise, the total cost for the city for the next year will be a little over 3 million dollars.