HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Huntersville's police chief says he needs higher pay for his officers and a new pay structure for his department in order to keep them.
"We are still stuck in a compensation model from the nineties," Tyler Medlin says.
Medlin works for the Police Benevolent Association. He says Huntersville officers are packing up and heading to Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
"They're having to make that decision for their family and when they're looking at a $20,000 difference, it becomes a lot harder to make sense of," he says.
Huntersville Chief Cleveland Spruill says his sergeants can move 20 minutes south and make more.
"Charlotte is the one that's taking our people," he says.
But he adds, there is also an issue within his own department's pay structure. For instance, some sergeants make less than the officers they supervise.
"The guys look at the system and say, does it treat me fairly and I think that's where a lot of our guys are struggling," Medlin says.
The chief wants a step-plan for officer pay, like the one in place in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It shows officers what they will make at each step in their career.
"How are we be able to offer them some kind of compensation and a system moving forward," Medlin says.
Mayor John Aneralla is concerned about officers earning their raises under this system.
"Merit has to play a role, and certifications, and all that," he says.
Chief Spruill says he cannot ignore his officers headed for the door, especially now that CMPD is offering even more.
"With the 6.5 percent increase in salary [for CMPD], that's going to really cause some significant challenges for us," Spruill says.
In fact, the chief says he has one officer leaving for Charlotte-Mecklenburg's department tomorrow. That person will make almost $15,000 more as an officer there, than as a sergeant in Huntersville.
Huntersville's town commission has until June 30 to adopt a new budget.