Louisville Metro Government has reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement for police, city officials announced Friday.
The city has been negotiating the agreement with the River City Fraternal Order of Police since January. The contracts for officers and sergeants expired in June, and the contract for lieutenants expired in 2018. The tentative deal will provide increased pay for officers, something Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he hopes will help with recruitment and retainment.
“My hope is that the men and women of LMPD see this as an investment in them, that those considering law enforcement see it as an invitation to a fulfilling career, and that our residents see it as evidence of our commitment to bring major reformative changes to address accountability and community trust,” Fischer said in a statement.
Louisville Metro Police Department has struggled with understaffing in recent years, due in part to what the union has said is low pay compared to surrounding localities. The department is currently short nearly 250 officers.
Under the tentative contract, salaries for new officers would increase to just over $49,500 this year. That would go up to $51,000 in the next fiscal year. Starting salaries for command staff would also increase next year: $78,700 for sergeants and $98,000 for lieutenants. All rank-and-file officers and mid-level command staff would also be guaranteed a raise every two years.
Included in the tentative contract are policy reforms that city officials say address some of the community concerns about police accountability. They include retaining past findings of bias and untruthfulness in officers’ permanent records, mandatory drug and alcohol testing after police shootings and enhanced disciplinary procedures and oversight, among other reforms.
LMPD Police Chief Erika Shields praised both the new contract and the reforms in a statement on Friday.
“With the challenges we face on gun violence and staffing, our city needs highly motivated officers, and the competitive salary pieces of this contract will help us achieve that,” she said. “At the same time, it sets clear directives for meeting the community’s expectations for reform. Those too, will make us a stronger force.”
The agreement will still need to be approved by Louisville Metro Council and the police union. The union’s members are expected to vote on it in early September.