Patrol Officers with the Forsyth Police Department are getting another raise this year.
At the Nov. 18 Forsyth Board of Alderman Meeting, aldermen approved an increase in pay in the amount of $1 an hour for its Forsyth patrol officers.
The pay increase will raise the hourly starting pay of a Forsyth patrol officer from $12 to $13. After completing their three-month training program, new Forsyth officers have been, in recent years, presented with a dollar increase, which will now take officers to $14 an hour instead of $13. All currently active Forsyth patrol officers will also receive the dollar raise.
Between 2015 and Aug. 2019, a total of 15 officers had come and gone from the Forsyth Police Department. In an August interview, Forsyth Police Chief Roger Ellis explained that one of biggest reasons for this turnover was poor pay conditions.
Forsyth Ward I Alderman Jack Baker also seconded Ellis’ reasoning in an Aug. interview, which he reiterated at the Nov. 18 meeting.
“We’ve had a lot of turn over in police officers. The reason being is we can’t pay what Taney County, Branson, Hollister, Ozark, Nixa and Springfield pay,” said Baker. “We did salary increases for the entire staff a month ago, which included the police department.”
As part of the fiscal year 2020 budget, salary increases of 2.5% was presented to everyone on city staff. Those increases went into effect on Sept. 1, the same day as the 2020 budget. In an August interview, Forsyth Finance Officer Angela Leist explained that the 2.5% increase would raise the salary of an officer making $13 an hour by 33 cents.
Baker said that this dollar-an-hour raise is being given “as a show of good faith” to the Forsyth patrol officers. He added that this raise will not be given to Chief Ellis, members of dispatch or the Forsyth School Resource Officer.
“That’s everybody in the car and on the streets,” Baker said. “Our problem is on patrol officers. That is where our competition is killing us. So that’s where we’re going to throw the dollar right now is at those guys.”
The pay increase will go into effect on Nov. 22, which is the beginning of the next pay period.
“Thank you very much on behalf of my officers,” said Ellis.
The Forsyth 2020 budget also included $60,000 for the purchase of two new patrol vehicles for the Forsyth Police Department. Those vehicles have been purchased for $53,000.
At the Nov. 18 meeting, Ellis requested an adjustment increase be made to the 2020 budget in the amount of $6,000, which will be used to pay for the equipment installation into the second patrol vehicle.
Aldermen approved the adjustment after Ellis explained that approved grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture was going to help pay for the equipment install of the two vehicles. However, Ellis said that funding has yet to come through and the USDA was unable to tell him when the grant funding would be awarded.