Pay raise for Winchester Police Department approved

Published 9:31 am Friday, August 19, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Winchester Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a ten percent pay raise for all employees of the Winchester Police Department (WPD) Tuesday evening.

Winchester Police Chief James Hall told the board during its regularly scheduled meeting that the raise will allow his department to recruit new officers better and retain current members of the force.

Hall said that the department is currently slated to have 36 officers and employees, 33 with two retirements pending. With the current number of officers on the force, there is one police officer for every 580 citizens. When the retirements become effective, there will be one police officer for every 617 citizens.

Email newsletter signup

The chief said that eventually, he would like to have 40 officers on the force, giving Winchester one officer for 478 citizens.

The issue is that the department’s current starting salary – $36,659 – is much lower than surrounding areas. Hall said that an internal study revealed that the WPD ranked 18th out of 21 agencies around the area.

The raise will increase the starting salary to $40,325, which according to the WPD’s survey, will rank it 16th out of 21 agencies.

Another issue facing the department is that it is losing officers to lateral transfers, Hall said. The WPD can only offer an officer a salary of $40,325 if they laterally transfer into the department.

The board will have to pass budget amendments and a resolution formally giving the raises an effective date before they become official.

Winchester City Manager Mike Flynn said at full staffing capacity – 36 officers and three administrators – that the raises will add an estimated $318,000 to the city budget.

While the vote was unanimous, Mayor Ed Burtner expressed concern about the board deviating from its recently passed budget. Commissioner Shannon Cox advocated for a future raise for all city employees.