City Council votes to pay RPD $4,000 bonus and raise

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. More money is coming to Rochester police officers.

Not only are they getting a raise but every officer who worked during the pandemic is also getting a $4,000 payment. Rochester City Council approved it all Tuesday night. Some expressed support and say the city will benefit, while others want the money invested in community services.

Mayor Malik Evans introduced the bill to pay officers who worked during the pandemic $4,000, but he says, “It doesn’t have anything to do with Covid relief. No one got Covid relief payments.”

Officers will also get pay raises, but some City Council members believe the city should focus on putting funds into other public safety services. Council member Michael Patterson says they have been in negotiations with RPD and it got to a point where RPD took them to arbitration so both sides sat and talked but couldn’t come to an agreement.

“They went to a state arbitrator,” Patterson said. “The state arbitrator told the city of Rochester what it was going to do so what we voted on doing today was following what the state arbitrator told us to do. The state arbitrator said you will pay police this amount of money. You will give them this bonus.”

Councilmember Willie Lightfoot is in favor of giving police raises and a $4,000 check.

“I’m in favor of what happened because I am a retired fireman,” Lightfoot said. “I believe in our first responders and I appreciate the work that they do.”

Councilmember Lightfoot says he understands other council members want to see equity and bonuses given to city workers across the board.

“I wanted to keep it in committee and ultimately voted no,” council member Mary Lupien said. “Many front line workers put their lives on the line as well and I wanted to take a stance as well as my colleague. It’s important that we treat our employees the same way.”

Council Member Stanley Martin agrees there needs to be other investments made in other areas that can keep the community safe.

“Mental health counseling, healthcare workers, crisis workers, Pathways to Peace interruptions, folks in the streets saving our youth,” Martin said. “I would like to see those investments be also made in them.”

The $4,000 check each officer will receive is to help keep police officers on the force. RPD has been facing staffing shortages like many other cities.