SHREVEPORT, La. – The Shreveport Police Officers Association will not support the upcoming city bond proposal even thought part of the $186 million package is for construction of a new police station.
SPOA members say instead the city should be focusing on raising officers’ pay and stopping them from leaving the department, according to a statement from Michael Carter, the organization’s president.
“It is time to focus on retaining the officers that make the sacrifices for the citizens of Shreveport 24 hours per day,” the statement reads.
The bond plan includes $32 million for water department projects, $76 million for the police and fire departments and SPAR building repairs and $78 million for streets and drainage.
About $20 million would be earmarked for a new police station and $6 million for four police substations. The current police headquarters is plagued with mold, plumbing and air conditioning problems.
Mayor Adrian Perkins asked for the SPOA’s support in July, Carter said. But the overriding sentiment of the group has been consistent, with members feeling a capital outlay is not what is needed “at this crucial time in our organization.”
Carter added: “SPOA members feel that the stagnant pay has reached a critical point in retaining” officers who are leaving the department. Promises have been made by past administrations to get the pay up to the regional salary level, which Carter says is $61,350 and rising. SPOA members make $39,990 after a year with SPD.
“SPOA is committed to members and the advancement of their careers. Currently, nearly 100 percent of our members work far more than 40 hours a week to provide for their families,” Carter said, adding “no reasonable person” would expect SPOA to support millions in capital outlay when promises to increase pay have not been met.
Carter also references a statement he said the mayor’s spokesman, Ben Riggs, made, saying he expects SPOA to call for another vote. However, Carter said, “We do not take votes over again when City Hall isn’t pleased.”
KTBS has reached out to Riggs for comment on Carter’s statement.