By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Part-time police officers in Colfax will now be making $14.50 an hour.
The pay raise, which reflects a $1.65 per hour increase, was approved at a joint meeting of the Colfax Personnel Committee and the Colfax Village Board February 9.
Colfax Police Chief Bill Anderson presented the proposal for the pay increase.
One of the part-time officers in Colfax also was hired part-time in Boyceville, and the Boyceville Police Department is paying $16 per hour, Police Chief Anderson said.
After doing a little research, Police Chief Anderson said he discovered that part-time Colfax police officers have been paid $12.85 an hour for the past seven or eight years.
The Boyceville Police Department has a couple of openings, so the part-time officer from Colfax could work as many hours in Boyceville as he would like for $16 an hour, he said.
Police Chief Anderson noted that he had hired the officer in question first, before Boyceville, and the officer likes working in Colfax.
Information Police Chief Anderson provided to the Colfax Village Board revealed that other police departments in the area pay a range of hourly wages for their part-time police officers:
• Elk Mound has no part-time wage in place, but Elk Mound Police Chief Travis Hakes is proposing $14 to $15 an hour.
• Cadott pays $14.25 an hour.
• Cornell pays $15.15.
• Bloomer pays $16.50.
• Stanley pays $12.50.
• Glenwood City pays $14.45.
The average of all of the police departments surveyed, including Boyceville, is $14.45 per hour, Police Chief Anderson noted, adding that he was recommending Colfax increase the part-time officer pay to $14.50 per hour.
Police departments that are willing to pay a little more for their part-time officers “are getting some of the good people to stick around,” he said.
Police Chief Anderson said that he had increased the police department’s part-time officer budget for 2015 to $14,000 and that he did not anticipate going over the budgeted amount.
As for the $14.50 per hour, “it’s not the high end. It’s not the low end. It’s right in the middle,” he said.
“It’s embarrassing that we have gone seven years without this having been brought to the board,” said Mark Halpin, village trustee and chair of the public safety committee.
Police Chief Anderson said he would keep tabs on the other departments.
“If they are all increasing and moving up, then Colfax should keep up,” he said.
“I think it’s a small price to pay to keep people that you know you can count on,” said Jeremy Klukas, village trustee.
Good police coverage within the village is necessary because the village “has become interesting,” Halpin said.
Scott Gunnufson, village president, commended Police Chief Anderson for the foresight to increase the part-time wage portion of the police department budget and for bringing the issue to the village board.
The Colfax Personnel Committee and the Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to increase the pay to $14.50 per hour for part-time police officers in Colfax.
All members of the village board serve on the personnel committee.