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For several years, police departments across the country have struggled to recruit, hire and retain officers to fill their ranks. At the June 15 City Commission meeting, the city's elected body took the first steps to approve several new strategies aimed to attract recruits and entice more officers to stay.
“Public safety will always be among my top priorities. Daytona Beach is experiencing significant growth as more people are moving to our community. I challenged city management to develop a multi-prong plan to help recruit and retain more officers,” said Mayor Derrick L. Henry.
Daytona Beach currently has 41 vacancies in its police department with 242 budgeted sworn positions.
Upon final commission approval and starting July 3, all sworn personnel, for ranks from officer to deputy chief, will receive a $3 per hour raise. The minimum starting salary will increase to $23.58 per hour or $49,065.42 annually. Then on Oct. 1, hourly rates and annual salaries will increase by 3% to a minimum of $24.29 per hour or $50,537.38 annually.
“Our elected officials are committed to investing in the city’s public safety programs. With these changes, Daytona Beach police officers will become the highest paid law enforcement agency in Volusia County and will make the department competitive with much larger markets like Orange County and Orlando,” said Deric C. Feacher, Daytona Beach’s city manager.
Other initiatives presented for City Commission consideration include raising the outside detail pay for officers working at bars, nightclubs and lounges in the core beachside area from $40 per hour to $60 per hour. Furthermore, officers working such details between March 1 through April 30 and Biketoberfest will be paid $80 per hour. Commissioners will also consider amending the pension plan to reduce the number of years to reach normal retirement from 25 years to 20.
The City Commission will take a final vote to approve salary increases and other incentives at their July 6 meeting.
“Daytona Beach attracts big crowds for its signature special events. With the new pay ranges and incentives, officers will be fairly compensated for the extra work it takes to provide services in our dynamic community,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young. “By this Halloween, all officers wearing a DBPD uniform will have a base salary north of $50,000 per year, this is before built-in overtime, shift differentials, education incentives and numerous opportunities to work outside details and voluntary overtime,” added Young.
In addition to the new incentives, the city will continue to offer paid academy tuition, overtime opportunities, regular pay increases, job security and generous retirement benefits.
“Daytona Beach is a great place to live and work, and we will aggressively market our current vacancies. The extra incentives should go a long way to entice job candidates. We will be vigilant in our recruiting efforts,” added Feacher.
For more information on becoming a police officer in Daytona Beach, visit DBPD's webpage.
Daytona Beach firefighters are also slated to receive across-the-board raises. Starting July 3 and with the City Commission’s approval, all regular fulltime firefighters will receive a $1.54 per hour increase. This hourly raise will make Daytona Beach the highest paying jurisdiction in Volusia County. Firefighters are also slated for a 3% increase on Oct. 1 and the years reduced to reach normal retirement from 25 years to 20, with City Commission final approval expected on July 6. Daytona Beach’s Fire Department has 105 certified firefighters.