FLUSHING — Six months after agreeing to a new contract with the Flushing City Police Department, Flushing City Council has now authorized a pay raise for part-time officers on the force.
At its Feb. 8 meeting, the council approved an increase of hourly pay for part-time officers from $15 an hour to $21 an hour. Council members voted 6-0 to approve the pay raise, with Councilwoman Brooke Good abstaining from the vote because her husband is a Flushing police officer.
Flushing Police Chief Mark Hoornstra said that the pay raise will help his department recruit and retain part-time officers—a task that has been difficult over the years.
“We’re competing with other agencies that have good benefit packages, good wages and an opportunity for upward advancement,” he said. “It’s a challenging market for us now.”
According to a study conducted by Interim City Manager Clarence Goodlein, the countywide average for part-time officer pay is $16.53 an hour—well above what Flushing part-time officers were making at $15 an hour.
Full-time police officers in Flushing currently make a starting wage of $24 an hour with benefits, with more tenured officers making above $30 an hour. Part-time officers receive an hourly wage with no benefits package.
In addition to the pay raise, Goodlein said that the city should explore giving secondary benefits to part-time officers in the future.
“People will leave if they can make more money somewhere else,” he said. “They need compensation packages and defined benefits if we want to keep them here.”
Hoornstra, who currently has three part-time officers on his force, said that part-timers complete the same duties and have the same basic training as their full-time colleagues. One major difference, though, is that part-time officers usually have other fulltime jobs or multiple part-time jobs in addition to their police work.
Hoornstra also said that while he does take new officers straight from the police academies, his department typically recruits experienced officers to fill part-time positions.
“We’ve been more successful with finding people who have retired from other departments but are looking for part-time work,” he said. “They have experience, their training period is a lot shorter and their tenure seems to be longer.”
In the long run, Hoornstra said that adding a few more part-time officers would help to keep overtime costs down.
Following the Feb. 8 vote, part-time officers in Flushing will be getting their first hourly pay increase since 2015.