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High-ranking Suffolk police to get 11.25% raises over 6 years

A Suffolk County police car is shown in

A Suffolk County police car is shown in this 2012 file photo taken in Bay Shore. Credit: James Carbone

High-ranking Suffolk County police are set to get 11.25% raises over six years under a tentative $53 million deal reached with the Superior Officers Association, officials said Wednesday.

Sergeants, lieutenants, captains and other senior officers at top step would have base salaries ranging from $183,000 to $273,000 a year by 2024, officials said. That base pay does not include other pay benefits, such as overtime and longevity pay, which are expected to add thousands of dollars to salaries.

The deal — approved by the County Legislature’s government operations committee Wednesday — would ensure that superior officers are paid between 3.59% and 17.97% more than police officers, whom they supervise, documents show.

The agreement would achieve some savings by requiring SOA members to work an extra day each year to attend firearms training, instead of using overtime for it, and give officers hired this year or later 13 days of sick leave instead of 26, documents show.

“We think it’s a fair contract for the members and taxpayers,” union president John Cowie said. “It was a give and take, and it’s a fair deal.”

Legislative budget analysts said they did not have time to calculate the contract’s costs by Wednesday.

Superior officers have been without a contract for the last year. The new agreement would maintain a two-tier pay scale for superior officers based on their date of hire. All members would eventually reach the same top scale salary, but those hired to the force after 2012 would have a lower base salary before getting there.

Their pay is based off the Police Benevolent Association contract, which gives police officers at top scale a base salary of $159,846 by 2024. But that pay rises to more than $200,000 when including other pay benefits, such as overtime and longevity pay.

Sergeants — the most common position in the SOA — would have a base salary of about $183,000 by 2024, Deputy County Executive Dennis Cohen said. Their pay is currently $162,843, according to the previous contract.

Lieutenants and other superior officers in the top scale would have a base salary of $204,464 by then, officials said.

The base pay for the top rank of chief inspector would rise from $245,529 to $273,151 by 2024, based on Newsday calculations using the expired contract.

Longevity pay will increase by $25 a year but be capped at 32 years of service for most members. Superior officers also will be compensated for between $3,000 and $4,500 a year in overtime. 

Superior officers in certain positions will receive an additional 2.5% stipend for wearing body cameras. The agreement allows the county to turn over video evidence to consulting firms handling medical disputes but requires that the SOA get copies first.

The department also must provide the SOA with a private room to consult with members before an Internal Affairs interview.

The full legislature will vote on the contract on Dec. 17.

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