- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - The Oxford Police Department is asking the city to raise the salaries of new and veteran officers.

The Oxford Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1mM3phe ) Police Department Maj. Jeff McCutchen told aldermen recently that the department is losing its five- to eight-year officers.

“We’re losing officers to the Mississippi Highway Patrol and departments in north Mississippi,” McCutchen said.

McCutchen said most of the current police officers have been with the department for one to four years. Only 11 have been there for nine to 12 years and five for 13 or more years.

The department presented a salary comparison to the board, which showed Oxford’s starting salary is $34,749 for a certified, no-experience, new hire officer. In Southaven, starting salary is $43,890 and Tupelo is $39,600.

For a three-year officer, the salary is $35,791 in Oxford, $46,717 in Southaven and $41,060 in Tupelo. A captain makes $53,263 in Oxford, $62,312 in Southaven and $54,649 in Tupelo.

The department is asking the aldermen to consider making two increases over a period a couple of years to get the pay aligned with other area departments. A certified new hire would start at $36,865 after the final increase. A three-year officer would be bumped up to $39,110 and a captain to $64,022.

Aldermen took no action on the proposal.

“We hear you,” Mayor Pat Patterson said. “I’m not sure what we can do about it, but we hear you.”

The budget for fiscal year 2014-15 has already been approved. The fiscal year began Oct. 1. To change the salaries would require a budget amendment or be included in next year’s budget process, aldermen said.

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Information from: Oxford Eagle, http://www.oxfordeagle.com

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