SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The Syracuse Police Benevolent Association has voted to approve a tentative contract with the City of Syracuse, said PBA President Jeff Piedmonte Wednesday.
At a Syracuse Common Council Public Safety Committee meeting, Piedmonte did not indicate the margin of the vote, but indicated that results were not an overwhelming majority.
The tentative deal includes several new incentives, most of which equate to higher pay.
Officers with an Associate’s Degree or above would get a percentage boost, the same for applicants who speak another language. The pay increase would last throughout an officer’s time with the department. Military service and department longevity would also be rewarded.
One of the most glaring additions in the new contract is a plan to require all new officers to live in the City of Syracuse for five years within six months of graduation.
“I think the decision from the very beginning was they wanted officers that came from the community, knew the community and lived in the community, ” said Deputy Police Chief Joe Cecile.
The plan is similar to a Syracuse Fire Department initiative added in 2016.
The Mayor’s Office has said it doesn’t think the residency rule would impact recruitment, but Deputy Chief Cecile said it’s too early to tell.
“We don’t know how it’s going to play out, plus you have to juxtapose that with all the incentives that are already in there, which I think are going to encourage people to come to our department as opposed to other CNY police agencies,” said Cecile.
But like many departments, Syracuse Police is already struggling with recruitment. In 2014 the department had 700 applicants but this last round only 348 according to Cecile.
The city is hoping to have the new police contract in place by the end of the year. To meet that goal, the Syracuse Common Council would have to vote on the proposal at their next meeting on December 16th or hold a special session.
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