Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the Hattiesburg City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment that will give a mid-year raise to sworn officers with the Hattiesburg Police Department and equipment operators/drivers in the sanitation division of Public Works.
Mayor Toby Barker stated that the urgency to continue attracting quality professionals in both the police department and sanitation led to the administration bringing the proposal before the Council.
The budget amendment package for sworn officers with the Hattiesburg Police Department includes:
- Increases starting pay for patrol officers from $40,000 to $50,000, with additional pay for educational attainment
- Adjusted pay scale for patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and majors
- Additional raises for meeting professional development benchmarks
Initial surveys of salaries in the region indicate that this will make the Hattiesburg Police Department the highest-paying local law enforcement agency in South Mississippi. It is also the fifth round of salary increases for the police department under the Barker administration.
“Public safety is the most important service provided by local government,” said Barker. “In recent years, it has become more challenging to recruit and retain quality men and women in law enforcement. It is a nationwide problem, and Hattiesburg has experienced it as well. Our officers at the Hattiesburg Police Department work hard to do policing the right way, with a community-driven focus on prevention and embracing new and effective methods. With an increased pay scale that now leads other local law enforcement agencies in South Mississippi – and with one of the most state-of-the-art public safety complexes in the Gulf South – our police department is poised to be better staffed with quality officers, which in turn will make our community safer.”
The budget amendment package for equipment operators/drivers in the sanitation division of Public Works includes:
- A $2 per hour increase for all sanitation drivers
- Increases the starting wage for drivers to $18 per hour
“Consistent and reliable solid waste pickup is something our residents expect,” said Barker. “After long delays of receiving new trucks, we now have half of our vehicle fleet replaced. Recruiting and retaining equipment operators was our next challenge, this pay raise addresses that immediate need.”
This is the sixth round of salary increases for sanitation drivers under the Barker administration.
Because the city projects one year behind on sales-tax revenue, it projects there will be sufficient revenue for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2023 and all of Fiscal Year 2024 to fully implement the increases. Raises under this budget amendment will take effect during the first pay period in July.