Houston Police Agree to New Contract, No Raises Until 2013

Houston Police officers have a new contract with the City of Houston that includes no pay increases until 2013 and a new fitness standard. Laurie Johnson reports.

The new contract runs through 2015 and stipulates that officers won't receive raises until 2013, when a three percent increase will go into effect. Another three percent raise will come in 2014 and a  four percent raise follows the year after that.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker signed the new contract alongside HPD Chief Charles McClelland and JJ Berry, vice president of the Houston Police Officers' Union.

"It was tough going into a negotiating table and saying guys, for the next couple of years we really can't put any money on the table. We can't give you pay raises. But we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that we keep officers in the department, but work through a range of non-economic changes that benefit the administration, that benefit the command staff and that benefit you."

The new contract does include incentive pay for patrol officers, in an effort to make it an appealing option to stay on patrol rather than move to an office job.

Chief McClelland says it's a fair contract that has broad support from the rank and file.

"It's very important that employees know what their benefits are and that that's stable, so I just want to show my appreciation for all the people that put in the hard work."

The contract also for the first time includes a fitness component. New officers must pass a physical agility test in
order to accrue paid time for ongoing fitness and training requirements.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...