Daytona Beach sees success in attracting more police officer recruits with higher pay

The Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) has cut its officer openings from 41 to just 17. They even started four new officers this week. 

"We are not nearly having the problems that we had before attracting great candidates," said Mayor Derrick Henry. 

DBPD's strategy of enticing officers with a starting salary of just over $50,000 a year is working. The city bumped DBPD pay this summer $3 an hour across the board. They also offer 11 paid holidays. 

"It’s the right thing to do, but it was also a necessary thing to do," said Henry. "Whether you believe that was right or not, it had to be done."

Now, other departments are trying to compete with Daytona Beach to help fill their vacancies. Officers in Sanford are starting at nearly $6,000 less than DBPD. Sanford’s Police Union, Sanford FoP 140, sat down with city officials today to try to close that gap. 

"As much as everybody who works here says they love working here this is a family decision," said Brian Cechowski of the Florida Fraternal Order of Police. "If you can leave the city of Sanford for $5000, $6000, or 7000 more to start that’s real money for your family."

The city offered a pay raise of 26% over three years. The first year of the deal would raise pay by 13% bringing starting pay to just under $50,000 a year. 

"The 13% we’re doing right now is more than the last contract over three years and then the 7% and 6% is very fair," said Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith. "It’s going to put our officers, I believe, in a great position."

In the end, holiday pay and benefits broke the deal. The city didn’t offer any paid holidays but did open the door to negotiate to have them in year three of their offer. 

The union will be taking this latest offer back to its members to decide if they will sign.