City reaches contract agreement with Kent Police officers

The Kent Police Officers Association and the city of Kent reached an agreement on a new three-year contract.

Kent Police officers reached a new three-year contract agreement with the city of Kent.

Kent Police officers reached a new three-year contract agreement with the city of Kent.

The Kent Police Officers Association and the city of Kent reached an agreement on a new three-year contract.

The union represents about 140 officers. Representatives from the union and city reached the 2016-18 labor agreement last week. Officers turned down an earlier offer by the city but a few changes led to their approval of the revised contract.

“I believe it was mostly due to some language adjustments in the health care section that caused the first tentative agreement to be voted down,” said Leialani Jensen, city labor relations manager, in an email. “We renegotiated on the language changes in the health care section in this next tentative agreement.”

Jensen said the revised agreement also included a flat wage increase each year rather than tying it to a cost-of-living adjustment.

“We negotiated to make the compensation section be more like other cities in the area (e.g. Auburn) where instead of relying on the ambiguity of a cost-of-living increase, we removed the COLA language and just give a flat increase in wages.”

Under the new contract, officers and sergeants received a 3.6 percent wage increase effective Jan. 1; will receive a 3 percent boost next January; and another 3 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2018.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, annual salaries for new officers still in the police academy were $59,652. That salary increases each year for the next four years until an officer reaches the top of the pay scale at the patrol officer 1 level, a rate of $77,676 per year or about $37 per hour. Sergeants are paid $91,968 annually or about $44 per hour.

Officers get a premium pay boost of 3.5 percent per month in addition to regular pay if they are assigned to the following units: Detective, Special Investigations Unit, Special Operations Unit, traffic, canine, Valley SWAT, hostage negotiator, Neighborhood Response Team, recruitment officer and administrative sergeant.

Employees also receive longevity incentive pay increases of 2 percent per year after five years with the city; 3 percent after 10 years; 4 percent after 15 years; 6 percent after 20 years; 7 percent after 25 years; and 8 percent after 30 years.

Earlier this year, Kent Police command staff reached a new three-year contract agreement with the city for its nine employees. That contract will pay assistant chiefs $123,336 and commanders $111,948 per year. The contract also includes cost-of-living increases each year that will range from 1 to 4 percent.

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