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Ogden police officers to receive immediate pay increase to stay competitive

By Deborah Wilber - | Oct 22, 2021

The Francom Public Safety Center at 2186 Lincoln Ave. in Ogden is pictured Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.

OGDEN — The Ogden City Police Department is in the midst of a crisis, Chief Eric Young says, due to a nationwide shortage of qualified police officers.

“Almost every police department across the country are facing shortages,” Young said.

Because of the shortage and the difficulty OPD has had attracting and holding on to officers, the city is bumping pay for those who protect and serve.

According to Ogden City Council member Marcia White, the city realized it needed to do something if the city was going to keep employees and asked Evergreen Solutions, a Florida consulting firm, to perform a classification and compensation study. The study revealed Ogden City employees are not being compensated based on the benchmark, coming in well below the nationwide average.

Both White and Young said the city wanted to increase police salary immediately to stay competitive with the market. The Salt Lake City Police Department raised its pay scale on June 27, with a base of $26.93 up to $39.29 per hour, according to data Young presented to the City Council.

The increase in SLC spurred a ripple effect along the Wasatch Front. According to Young, the West Valley Police Department raised its pay the first week of July to avoid a massive loss of bodies to SLCPD. The Layton Police Department also raised the top end of its offered salary to $41.19, Kaysville raised theirs to $41.29, Riverdale gave every officer a two-step pay increase and Weber County gave all employees a $2 an hour increase.

OPD is approximately $6 per hour below entry-level pay and $9 per hour below top pay compared to other medium and large-size Utah police agencies.

The proposed range of pay for Ogden officers has been raised from $21.39 to $24.80 per hour at the base level and topping out at $37.63, up from $32.20 per hour.

The raises will be partially funded by higher than expected sales tax collections taken in during the pandemic, White said.

“If we didn’t take this action on pay, we were looking at losing an additional 22-45 officers due to the ability to get a $6 to $9 an hour raise (elsewhere),” Young said.

An anonymous survey of OPD officers, conducted by the Weber Federation of Police, showed 22 had applied at another agency and 45 others were considering applying elsewhere.

White said she believes officers coming up on retirement are looking to make as much as they can now, so they will have more when they leave the force.

OPD lost 20 officers last year, Young said, some them to retirement while others left for different agencies. As of Sept. 27, OPD has a total of 27 vacancies due to unfilled positions, officers in training, officers on light duty status and military leave.

According to Young, Utah has more than 600 open police positions due to a lack of qualified applicants and capacity limitations at the Utah Police Academy.

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