SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The Shreveport Police Officer’s Association has issued a statement about its decision not to support the upcoming $186 million bond proposal.
SPOA’s President Sgt. Michael Carter told KTAL/KMSS the union voted against supporting the proposal believing it didn’t include enough for Shreveport Police Officers.
Carter also said the union didn’t like that SPAR was included in the section of the bond proposal with Shreveport Police and Fire.
The bond proposal includes $20 million for a new SPD headquarters, $6 million for constructing new police substations in each of the city’s crime districts, and another $5.5 million for a new OSI facility, Shreveport Mounted Patrol and improvements to the city jail.
Friday morning Carter released this official statement regarding the Shreveport bond proposal:
The Shreveport Police Officers Association has voted during its regularly scheduled business meeting that it will not support the upcoming bond proposal. We were asked by Mayor Adrian Perkins for our vote in July. After the proposals were drawn out SPOA members had many comments on the structure and the layout of the proposition. However, the over-riding sentiment throughout SPOA has been consistent. The members of SPOA feel that capital outlay is not what is needed at this crucial time in our organization. SPOA members feel that the stagnant pay has reached a critical point in retaining Shreveport Police Officers from leaving the department. The members fully understand that capital outlay bonds cannot be used for payroll, although some messengers have tried to sell the proposal on “future raises may depend on the bond”. We do not believe the bond proposal will result in a pay raise or by any other means as well.
SPOA members are the vast majority of the Shreveport Police Department. Membership is voluntary. We are a private entity that is not governed nor controlled by City Hall, nor the Police Administration. In a recent news release, it was stated that SPOA wanted “more”. That is only partially true. The current bond proposal offers a new facility which we do need. SPOA is committed to members and the advancement of their careers. Currently, nearly 100% of our members work far more than 40 hours per week to provide for their families. They are dedicated and committed to Shreveport, Louisiana. No reasonable person could expect our members to support millions of dollars of capital outlay when the initial promises of this administration were to get these members closer to regional average pay, which now stands at $61, 350.00 and rising. SPOA members make 39,990.00 after one year with SPD.
We are a union committed to the profession of law enforcement. Our members and their priorities come first. In regards to police pay, we do want more. We want to reach an average regional salary. We have been left behind by three administrations. All have pursued bonds, none have pursued pay raises for Police Officers. SPOA is a labor union with its own constitution and by-laws. Recently, the Mayor’s press secretary, Ben Riggs stated, “he expects members will call for another vote.” We do not take votes over again when City Hall isn’t pleased. We can, and we have caused new priorities when we have been neglected long enough. It is time to focus on retaining the Officers that make the sacrifices for the Citizens of Shreveport 24 hours per day.
Michael E. Carter, Ph.D.