‘You Get What You Pay For’: Indy Mulls Police Chief’s Salary

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Does Indianapolis pay its police chief enough to attract top-tier candidates? That question is in play as the city begins a search to replace Chief Troy Riggs, who cited low pay as a reason for his resignation earlier this month. The Indianapolis chief’s salary of $117,000 is lower than that of chiefs in comparable cities, according to the IndyStar. That means the chief is earning less than top police executives in some smaller Indiana cities, such as Fort Wayne and Carmel. The salary is lower than that of the Marion County prosecutor, $140,538.84, and the superintendent of the Indiana State Police, $138,628.10. It also falls below the chief’s salary in other nearby cities, such as Nashville, Tenn.; Cincinnati; and Louisville, Ky.

“I worry that we would replace Chief Riggs with someone, then they might be lured away to Columbus or Louisville,” said City Councilman Jeff Coats, who suggested a salary study to determine whether the chief’s position should get a raise. A spokeswoman for Mayor Joe Hogsett said there are no plans to raise the salary. Councilman Joseph Simpson, who chairs the Administration and Finance Committee, questioned whether it will be difficult to recruit a new chief without a competitive salary. “You get what you pay for,” Simpson said. Police chief salaries are “all over the board,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation. He said pay often is commensurate with the cost of living in a municipality: San Francisco has one of the nation’s highest paid police chiefs at more than $300,000 a year.

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