Fayette County

Lexington police get raises, personal use of cruisers in new contract

The city of Lexington and the Fraternal Order of Police have inked a deal on a four-year contract that includes raises for nearly 500 police officers and sergeants, and allows police to use cruisers for personal use at no cost.

Mayor Jim Gray announced the agreement during Tuesday’s Urban County Council work session. Gray said the new contract will cost the city an additional $3.9 million during the four years of the contract. The contract will expire in 2020. The council voted to approve the contract at a Tuesday night council meeting.

“This is the first time a contract has been accomplished before its deadline,” Gray said.

In addition to a 2 percent increase for each pay grade for the last three years of the contract, officers will not have to pay the city if they use their cruisers for personal use inside Fayette County. The use of police cruisers for personal use had been an issue during the last contract negotiation.

The contract specifies that an officer will be notified if video from his or her body-worn camera has been requested by someone outside the city. Lexington has ordered body cameras for police and expects officers who have contact with the public, and the cameras will be in use later this summer.

Sgt. Jason Rothermund, president of the Bluegrass Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4, said Tuesday that the four-year contract is “night and day” different from the previous contract.

The last contract was negotiated during a financial downtown and required more than $5 million in cuts that included pay freezes and a reduction in benefits, Rothermund said.

“Every person gets a raise during the four years of this contract,” Rothermund said. “The range varies because we had to do some smoothing.”

Police officers are placed in certain pay categories, called steps. Those step grades will have a 2 percent increase for the last three years of the contract. The first year of the contract includes money for salary adjustments to compensate for years of pay freezes.

Rothermund said that in previous years, the city and police hadn’t been able to negotiate a contract before the previous contract expired. Rothermund said both the city and police worked hard to reach a deal that was beneficial to both sides. Rothermund said negotiations will begin soon on a separate contract that covers police lieutenants.

“This contract puts us in a different direction,” Rothermund said. “I think it speaks well for the city. We have a highly educated police department and I believe a very professional police department, and our pay reflects that.”

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall