Atlanta police officers could take home more pay next year, and the city’s fire, corrections and planning departments could add personnel under a tentative budget proposed by Mayor Shirley Franklin, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The budget benefits from a $77.3 million surplus projected for this year. Franklin said the highlight of the budget was the investment in police officers, whose salaries are below what comparable cities offer. She said the higher pay will help “attract the best and brightest – and keep them.” Police Chief Richard Pennington said current starting pay for an officer is $38,000 a year with a four-year college degree – $36,000 with no degree.
The Corrections Department would add 78 officers to the city jail; the extra officers are needed because the inmate population did not drop as much as anticipated after January 2003, when the city stopped holding inmates charged with state crimes, sending them instead to county jails.