The City of South Bend has reached a tentative wage agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) South Bend Lodge No. 36 as part of a new collective bargaining agreement for South Bend Police Department officers.
“This agreement positions us to be more competitive regionally and provides a boost to our recruitment and retention efforts,” said Mayor James Mueller. “We must pay our officers a fair, just and competitive wage to achieve our goal of being a national leader in 21st century policing.”
The new agreement, contingent on Common Council approval, would raise the base wages of Patrolman First Class officers $65,576 by 2022, an 8.7 percent increase over two years compared to the current 2020 level of $60,341. The pension base, which is calculated as the Patrolman First Class base pay plus the 20-year longevity pay, would increase by 12.6 percent over two years from $63,591 in 2020 to $71,576 in 2022. Additionally, this agreement would increase the City residency incentive by a factor of 7.5 from $400 annually in 2020 to $2,000 in 2021 and $3,000 in 2022. This incentive will encourage more officers to live within city limits.
The South Bend Police Department has faced a shortage of sworn officers over the past few years, and the pension base had fallen to 43rd in the State of Indiana. The new agreement could move South Bend into the top 20, depending what other cities do over the next two years.
“We’re not alone in our attempts to attract and retain top-notch police officers and need to be in legitimate competition for them,” said Chief Scott Ruszkowski. “We’re optimistic this contract bridges that competitive gap and reflects the concern of our truly unique South Bend community.”
The FOP passed both the working agreement and the wage agreement by a vote of 172-13. The Board of Public Safety unanimously passed the working agreement, which covers all items aside from pay and compensation, at its meeting Wednesday morning on behalf of the City. The Common Council passed the 2021 budget at their last meeting on October 12 and is scheduled to vote on the wage agreement this upcoming Monday, October 26.
Other notable changes in the tentative wage agreement include:
- Increasing longevity pay annually over the next two years
- Increasing the one-time bonuses awarded to officers upon graduation from the police academy and for becoming a certified field training officer
- Increasing the critical duty pay stipend from $150 per day to $250 per day