The city of Shreveport's chief administrative officer released a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to a police union's opposition to a proposed sports arena and multi-use development.
The Shreveport Police Officers Association has come out against the $30 million proposal to build the facilities if the city is chosen to host an NBA g-league team.
The proposal won the backing of the Shreveport City Council in a 5-2 vote Tuesday.
Michael Carter, the union's president, held a news conference Wednesday announcing the group's active opposition to the plan and calling on the public to speak out against it as well.
Carter noted that the union has worked to get pay raises for police officers for the past 11 years.
"The rank and file is fed up. It's time for City Hall to move forward toward helping us keep this city safe," said Carter, who added that the funds proposed for the arena could be used to transform the Shreveport Police Department.
On Tuesday, the city said the $30 million is from money that's specifically earmarked for development of the city's riverfront.
Brian Crawford, the city's chief administrative officer, said Wednesday in his response to the police union's criticism that work is underway to get police officers and firefighters a pay increase above and beyond the annual raises that already are awarded.
Following is his statement on the matter:
“Please see the attached City of Shreveport Human Resources document related to Police Officer and Firefighter annual pay increases.
"All Police Officers and Firefighters, after serving three years, receive a 2% annual increase (including the last three years under the Tyler administration) called longevity pay.
"In addition, these 2% increases are not only calculated on their base pay amounts, they are also include on their $6,000 state supplemental pay, education incentive pay (if applicable), and their existing longevity (thus compounded on the raises they received from previous years).
"Please see the additional attached “Total Salary” spreadsheet for SPD and note the 2% Longevity raise column. This represents the accumulated 2% annual raises for each of the positions listed in 2016. Again, the 2% begins after an officer and firefighter completes three years of service and they receive the $6,000 state supplemental pay until after their first year of service.
“No one will deny that Shreveport police officers deserve an increase over and beyond what they receive annually. Mayor Tyler appreciates their unselfish and heroic service to the citizens and is working toward that goal in a comprehensive strategy to providing a needed increase for all city employees in the upcoming budget.
"Additionally, the City has spent $4.5 million on more than 100 new police cars over the last two years. Previously, none had been purchased since 2012.”
Carter, the police union president, earlier Wednesday released this statement:
"The Shreveport Police Officers Association opposes a “G” League Basketball Arena expenditure in Shreveport, Louisiana.
"The SPOA has diligently pursued a pay raise proposal for 11 years. The pay proposal was vetoed under former Mayor Cedric Glover in 2008, voted down by City Council Members in 2012, and deliberately ignored since February of 2015 by The Honorable Mayor Ollie Tyler.
"Many excuses have been provided, however, the “lack of funds” has been a consistent plea from City Administration. Now, a new venture requiring more than $30,000,000.00 of tax payer’s money, with interest, is being aggressively pursued.
"In an astonishing vote of 5-2, the Shreveport City Council proved, in our opinion, that public safety is not their priority. With shootings almost daily, we watch our City leaders ponder dreams of a “G” league Arena. There is no potential of a 30,000,000.00 return.
"$30,000.000.00 could drastically change the Shreveport Police Department into a progressive law enforcement agency. With daily infrastructure needs and public safety needs, the City of Shreveport has found what it is willing to invest in, and it is not the safety of the average citizen.
"SPOA adamantly holds Mayor Ollie Tyler, CAO Brian Crawford, and City Attorney Will Bradford, Jr. accountable for ignoring the safety needs of Shreveport, Louisiana. They have left no room for doubt. They are focused on issues that do not make Shreveport a better place to work and live. Now, the City Council, except for two, are looking to join the excitement that can only be enjoyed if you literally ignore the death and violence in the districts they represent.
"Please join the Shreveport Police Officers Association and oppose the basketball Arena."
Click here to review Shreveport police officer salaries for 2016, noting the 2% longevity raise column.
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