Lawrence may add police officers to the force

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LAWRENCE, Ind. (April 17, 2015) -- New police officers and pay raises for all public safety employees is what Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup is hoping the Common Council will agree to. It's part of his public safety plan released Friday.

It would be a four-percent raise starting July First, covered by the Marion County public safety tax increase that went in to effect at the start of the year. Lawrence's share of that is $860,000 annually. Anyone who is in public safety would get this pay raise. What the city is also excited about is the fact that four new officers will finally be hired. That would mean the city would have 62 uniformed officers on the force, the highest number to date.

"We've made provisions to replace people as they retire, so this is the new standard that we hope to maintain, 62 officers," Mayor Jessup said.

There would also be an additional police dispatcher hired.

"Our telecommunicators are literally the unsung heroes of public safety. Anything we can do for them that is a benefit is going to be great for the entire city," said Captain Gary Woodruff with the Lawrence Police Department.

Steve Collier, member of the Lawrence Common Council, says this comes after very rough economic times recently with EMT job loss and firefighter days off in lieu of overtime pay.

"I will vote for a pay increase for our public safety personnel," Collier said. "I want to see the numbers and see if we can't give them a little bit more out of that."

The Common Council will discuss the proposal at their meeting on May 4. It might come up for a vote sometime mid-month and if passed, it would take effect July 1.

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