BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) – The St. Louis Metro Area Police Department is scrambling for officers during a tight labor market.
The Belleville Police Department is increasing its starting salary starting in May to more than $71,000. It currently sits around $62,000. The department also increased its residency requirement for applicants to 45 miles from the Belleville area. The updates are the result of a new union contract between the department and the city.
Belleville’s goal is to go from 64 officers to 72.
“National problem as well. Numbers have been down in recent years,” said Lt. Chris Mattingly of Belleville PD. “Compared to St. Louis, yeah, that’s definitely a higher starting salary. On this side of the river, not as high. We’re not the highest, that’s for sure, but we’re at the less more competitive draw from St. Louis if these people are willing to make the trip, and they can do it, then it will be a personal choice for them.
According to the president of the city of St. Louis police union, expanding the area where officers can live may attract other candidates and officers from neighboring departments.
“We’ve lost a lot of guys to these departments for better pay,” St. Louis Officers Association president Jay Schroeder said. “We’re going to fall further and further behind. People are – maybe they stop coming or they stop applying, it’s always a fear.”
Belleville’s $71,000 salary will be among the best in the metro area. Other notable strengths include Collinsville PD, which starts at around $68,000. St. Louis County is almost at $54,000. Cahokia Heights and St. Louis Metropolitan PD are hovering around $48,000.
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