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Norfolk city manager proposes pay raise for first responders; officers say it's not enough

Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer hopes his proposal passes as more police officers are leaving the department.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk city leaders are looking over a proposal to increase wages for all public safety workers for their 2023 budget starting July.

During Tuesday night's city council meeting, City Manager Dr. Larry "Chip" Filer proposed a 5% general wage increase for all public safety workers with six or more years on the job for the 2023 budget.

But some police officers with the Virginia Police Benevolent Association in Norfolk say it's not enough.

The concerns about Norfolk Police Department's staffing and pay issues are growing in the community.

“Norfolk police compensation should be on par or higher than neighboring cities Norfolk is in a crisis," said Downtown Norfolk Civic League President Leila Vann speaking at Tuesday's meeting.

Credit: City of Norfolk

The Virginia Police Benevolent Association Norfolk chapter President Michael Lynch said that the crisis is losing police officers. Right now the department has more than 200 vacancies. Lynch said many of the officers who are leaving are heading to nearby departments.  

“I just know the new academy is starting soon in Virginia Beach. They also have three more lined up. And I know that we already have officers slated to go to those academies from our department," said Lynch. 

Lynch doesn't believe that increase will keep police officers in Norfolk.

“It would be different if it was just for five-year officers and more. But it’s not. A general wage increase means everybody gets it. So the pay gap is still going to be there," said Lynch. 

Right now, Norfolk police have the lowest salary for recruits training in the police academy. Once a police officer graduates they will make around $50,000. 

Credit: 13News Now
Credit: 13News Now

*Clarification: Virginia Beach Police Department's salary for Academy graduation is $49,226.32 and after their probationary period, it's $51,000.*

Lynch said he plans to meet with Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander next week to discuss more options to try and keep as many police officers as he can in Norfolk. 

City leaders will hold a series of budget meetings in April. The next two meetings are on April 19 and 26. City council members hope to approve the budget by May 10, 2022. 

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