It took seven months to come to an agreement the last time Brookfield police officers and the village’s administration negotiated on a contract for patrol officers and sergeants. But, with that deal set to expire at the end of 2016, both sides hammered out a new contract in three hours.
The three-year deal, which begins Jan. 1, 2017 and expires Dec. 31, 2019, includes base pay raises for officers in each year and minor changes to other provisions in the contract.
Police Chief James Episcopo said the ease in negotiating the new deal resulted from a good working relationship between the rank-and-file officers and village management.
“I’d like to think it has to do with the relationship we have between the guys and management and the village manager’s office next door,” Episcopo said. “Both sides were reasonable and came to an agreement quickly.”
According to the terms of the deal, patrol officers and sergeants will receive a 2.25 percent base pay increase in 2017, a 2.5 percent raise in 2018 and a 2.75 percent raise in 2019.
Step increases remain part of the salary structure and serve to boost the wages of more junior officers on the force. For example, the salary of a starting patrol officer in 2017 will be $60,465.
By the start of 2019, that same officer’s salary – due to the base pay raises and step raises – will be $75,269, a total increase of 24.5 percent. Officers qualify for the step increases in the first seven years they’re on the force.
Officers who no longer qualify for step raises will receive the base pay raise only. The top pay for a patrol officer in 2019 will be $93,849.
Entry-level sergeants in 2017 will be paid $97,136, and are eligible for two step raises in subsequent years. That same sergeant will make $107,931 in 2019, an increase of 11 percent.
The contract allows for base pay raises to be lowered slightly in each year if the Illinois General Assembly passes legislation freezing real estate taxes or cutting the share of state income taxes distributed to municipalities.
Health insurance benefits did not change in the new deal. Police officers will still pay 15 percent of premiums for individuals and their families, with the village picking up 85 percent. The village pays 90 percent of dental coverage for individual officers and 75 percent for dependents.
Minor changes to the contract include an increase in officers’ uniform allowance, from $175 to $200. The monthly stipend paid to officers serving as detectives or the juvenile officer will go up from $100 to $120.
Officers will now be able to accumulate up to 42.5 hours of comp time, which they can use in lieu of overtime payment, an increase from 40 hours. The change was made to align the comp time with officers’ 42.5-hour work week.
The latest contract was the second where Brookfield police officers were represented by the Illinois Council of Police (ICOPS) union. The department’s patrol officers and sergeants changed their union representation prior to the negotiation of the two-year deal in 2015.
Officers previously were represented by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.