BREMEN -- Upon hiring new recruit Trent Miles at the Aug. 12 meeting, Bremen town council discussed amending the 2019 wage ordinance to raise the probationary police officer wage.
At the Aug. 26 meeting, per the request of Chief Brad Kile, the council voted to accept the amendment in Ordinance 12-2019, raising the wage from $22.85 to $25 an hour, with holiday pay.
Councilman Rick Graverson opened discussion on the permanence of the ordinance, asking whether it raised the wage for Miles’ hiring alone or would amend the wage for good.
“My understanding was that this was going to be a one-time situation,” he said.
Clerk-treasurer Janet Anglemyer clarified that it would remain in effect through the rest of this year.
Ordinance 12-2019 would not change the wages of any officer currently on the payroll.
“It doesn’t affect any of the other officers, just new hires starting with Trent Miles, and then any officer after that that we would hire,” explained Councilman Bill Daily.
Reportedly, the purpose of the ordinance is to bring the probationary officer wage closer to the first-class patrolman pay.
“There was such a large gap between the two wages,” said Anglemyer. First-class patrolmen are paid $27.05 which made for a $4.20 difference between the ranks.
“We talked briefly about maybe having a lateral transfer line in there, to still have probationary pay and then a lateral transferal pay. A lot of police departments do, with a spin officer with 3-5 years or an officer with more than 5 years,” explained Chief Kile. “That way, if you can get an officer who has some experience, you don’t have to start them at a probationary pay. If they have enough experience, you can start them as a first-class patrolman.”
After briefly considering the option, the council opted to simply raise the probationary pay, since the town struggled to find an officer who was willing to work for such a low wage.
“If we’re having trouble now and we go to hire someone next year, won’t we be faced with the same thing? So, do you approach it now or do you drag your feet for six months and do it all over again?” Said Daily to explain the council’s decision.
The vote passed with two ayes, with Graverson abstaining.
The ordinance was declared an emergency and approved on all three readings during the meeting to allow Miles to begin work on the new wage.