After 18 months of negotiations and legal wrangling, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave police officers a 17% pay increase to be spread over four years.
The agreement, which calls for 4% raises in the first three years and a 5% increase in the final year, will keep the LAPD officers among the best paid in the nation, according to Los Angeles Police Protective League President George Aliano.
The labor union chief said that only the Anchorage, Alaska, Police Department has a higher pay scale.
Under the new contract, the LAPD’s first-year officers will earn $31,000. The highest-paid officers, those with at least seven years on the force, will get $47,000.
The contract covers every member of the force through the rank of lieutenant, with those at ranks of sergeant and above earning higher rates.
Beginning officers will not get pay raises for two years, however.
“They’ll all get to the top” of the scale, Aliano said. “It will just take them two years longer.”
There is also a provision in the contract for the chief of police to increase the starting salary if it is necessary to recruit officers. Mayor Tom Bradley said Wednesday that he would like see the department grow by 500 officers during the next year.
The contract was overwhelmingly approved by the union’s 7,342 members in November. It applies retroactively to July, 1988, when the previous contract expired. The average officer will soon receive a check for about $1,300 in back pay, according to Aliano.
The contract took particularly long to negotiate because of an unfair labor practices complaint the union had filed against the department in 1987.
That dispute over grievance procedures was resolved in March, 1988.