Houston police will get 10% pay raise over 3 years

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Officers are getting 10.5% raise, spread out over three years, starting in July. But also part of the new deal is an effort to make police more accountable when they make mistakes.

The vote was unanimous among city council members. The new deal for Houston police comes after four months of negotiations between its union leadership and Mayor Sylvester Turner's administration.

Officers get a 4% base pay increase in the first full pay period after July 1, 2022. They will get another 3% in 2023 and then 3.5% more in 2024.

But a significant rule has changed as it relates to accountability. Now, instead of a 180-day investigative clock starting when an alleged offense occurs, the city now has 180 days from the date it learns of a potential violation.

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"You have to give and take and that's the way the process works," said HPOU President Douglas Griffith. "The city obviously wants more accountability in law enforcement and we gave them that. And obviously, the city needs more money for hiring and retention purposes and we got that."

That move was part of the list of recommendations from the mayor's task force on accountability. And it could go a long way in strengthening community trust, at a time when crime is up and there is a concerted effort to both recruit and retain officers.

"That was a significant improvement in terms of accountability and holding everyone responsible for their actions when there is a violation of policy," Turner said.

It also provides more money for overtime and for community initiatives - including funding for programs that target domestic violence, mental health, and homelessness. The mayor said it is not a perfect deal, but it is good for both the police and the people they serve. And while the vote was unanimous, Councilmember Tarsha Jackson initially hoped to push the vote two weeks.

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"It's not about the dollars. It's not about their raise," Jackson said during the meeting. "They deserve a raise. But it's about the process and it's about holding police accountable."

She wanted more community input, but the city charter mandates the negotiations are between the union and the administration. A delay would have changed nothing.

"We don't defund police. We support police and at the same time we are investing in the community," Turner said.

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