Cleveland police cadets get salary increase, $5K signing bonus

Cadets will receive a pay bump from $16 to $24 an hour; the city will also offer incentives to cadets who either graduated from college or served in the military

By John H. Tucker

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cadets enrolled in Cleveland’s police academy will receive a pay bump from $16 to $24 an hour, along with a $5,000 signing bonus, following negotiations between the city and two leading police unions, Mayor Justin Bibb announced Wednesday.

The deal, which Bibb said would be sealed Wednesday through a memorandum of understanding, comes as the police division faces significant staffing shortages and is well below its recruitment goals this year.

Though the division is budgeted to hire 180 new officers this year, only 30 have either graduated from or are currently enrolled in the academy, officials have said. An additional class will begin in October, and the city is hopeful the new pay structure will attract a larger number of recruits.

The police academy runs seven and a half months. In addition to the pay boosts, the city will offer incentives to cadets who either graduated from college or served in the military. Those recruits will begin their service on a higher patrol tier than is typical, effectively netting them one-year, $3,700 salary enhancements, officials said.

“Today is a positive milestone for the city,” Bibb told reporters Wednesday at City Hall.

The mayor was flanked by two key union negotiators: Det. Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, which represents patrol officers and detectives, and Capt. James O’Malley, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8, which represents supervisors.

City officials are framing the academy pay deal as the first phase of negotiations that will ultimately address officer retention and deployment. Bibb has said that the adoption of 12-hour shifts is on the table. Currently, several officers are working overtime, and crime in Cleveland is up significantly.

“We have a lot more work to do,” Bibb acknowledged.

The city is down 272 officers from its budgeted allowance of 1,498, according to Police Chief Wayne Drummond, who also spoke during Wednesday’s announcement.

The recruits’ signing bonus will be split into three installments, the last of which will be paid following probationary periods for new officers.

“This is a great step to try to get officers into the city of Cleveland.” Follmer said of the recruitment deal.

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