Message from the Chief Of Police
Retaining Qualified Staffing to Support the Level of Service You Deserve
In our never-ending endeavor to provide public safety services to our City, we remain committed to achieving our goal of recruiting and retaining the most qualified police officers to serve you. Nationwide, agencies have been impacted by police officer staffing shortages during an era noted as the “great resignation”. Our police department, and others in Broward County, have experienced the same challenges with achieving and sustaining full staffing. We are happy to report that as of June 2022, and pursuant to our aggressive recruitment efforts, we have a full complement of police officers. Saying this, 2021 was a different story. Our agency faced staffing shortages to the tune of being 21% understaffed with officers, a shortage we never want to face again. Although understaffed, our agency remained committed to achieving our daily public safety missions. During this time our officers worked extra shifts, were mandated to stay late and come in early, and at times were compelled to abandon days off in order to meet minimum mandatory staffing levels. It was amazing to watch our officers ensure our community did not go unprotected during these challenging times, and I am very appreciative of them for placing our Island City first. Along with this gratitude comes concern for the health and well-being of our officers under times of such duress. In order to ensure we are providing a high “Quality of Work Life” environment, our agency provides a supportive and interactive work environment for employees to thrive, and achieve the most out of their careers we can offer. A respectful workplace culture for our employees is a priority as this is high on the list of what someone desires from their employer. Also high on the list of importance is what Forbes notes as physical, psychological and financial wellness. For many years our agency has promoted good physical health and mental wellness enacting initiatives and mental health and stress management teams to support our officers. Where our City currently seeks marked improvement is in the area of financial wellness. Knowing our City employees were underpaid, our City embarked on a salary study that showed the shortfall in employee salaries that included low police officer salaries. A separate study I commissioned showed our police officers are the lowest paid in Broward County. First and foremost, this “last place” designator is not reflective of the “first place” passion and love they exhibit while serving our community. Second, when looking to retain employees we have trained, professionally developed and invested a lot of time and money in, our current salary structure has failed us. Accompanying the 79% staffing levels in 2021, was the fact 43% of our employees who left said they were parting ways for better salaries and benefits elsewhere. Additional data points from my study also noted on average, our officers’ starting and top-out salaries are 12% and 9% less than other Broward agencies. In addition, 59% of Broward agencies salaries surpass ours by 10% or more with four of these agencies making 20% more than our officers.
As our City continues the path toward improving employee salaries, I want to thank and commend City leadership for embarking on this necessary mission. First and foremost, we owe it to our employees to compensate them for the excellent services they provide to our community, and secondly, we must remain competitive in our City’s endeavor to recruit and retain the right people who will exhibit passion for their profession, and conduct their duties with compassion for those they serve. To our community…I ask for your support during our drive toward fair and competitive salaries. I am certain this path can lead us to being fiscally responsible with your tax dollars, while at the same time maintaining and sustaining a passionate workforce that stays here in our Island City to serve you with a goal of meeting or exceeding the levels of service you deserve.