Evanston City Council votes to raise police officer salaries

Elliot Hoffner, Staff Writer

Many people’s job situations changed as a result of COVID. Some lost their jobs, while others chose to leave; much of this shifting was due to economic reasons. This is known as The Great Resignation, where people willingly quit their jobs in masses starting in 2021.

The Evanston Police Department was no exception. In the last couple of years, many officers noticed that neighboring police departments were paying their officers more and left the EPD. At one point, the city lost over thirty officers.

At the city council meeting on January twenty-third, Councilmember Devon Reid said, “no amount of pay can compensate for that [the violence police witness] but what I think we can do here is just show that we value the police department by increasing the salaries… I think you know our officers here maybe even deserve more, but this is a good first step.” 

At the city council meeting, the council voted to increase police salaries. For sergeants represented by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, wages will increase by thirty percent over the next four years. There will be a twenty-three percent increase for patrol officers over the next four years and four-and-a-half percent longevity pay (additional wages or other compensation given on the basis of length of service) for patrol officers who serve for at least fifteen years. Members who have served at least twenty-five years will also receive a six-and-a-half percent increase.

Many Evanston residents approve of the raise. Kristain “Krissie” Harris, the second-ward alderperson, has received positive feedback from citizens: “the majority of our residents were in favor of the raise. Our police department is being picked off by neighboring police departments. We need to be comparable with pay,” said Harris.

Harris also predicts that this change will increase the size of the EPD. “We now will have more officers, retain the good officers, and recruit more officers.”