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Payscales in the Atlanta area

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  • Payscales in the Atlanta area

    Hey guys, quick question. I have been researching police salaries in the Atlanta area, and have found that dept websites tend to only post starting pay, but never provide full payscales. I think it is important for prospective applicants to know how a dept's salary schedule progresses, with annual contract raises / merit raises / grade steps / etc. Specifically, what will the salary be after 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, and so on. The specific depts I am looking at are Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Cobb County, and Gwinnett County. Are there any online links to this information, or can anyone provide any insight? I would greatly appreciate any information, thanks.
    Last edited by Bunk; 04-16-2011, 05:07 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Bunk View Post
    Hey guys, quick question. I have been researching police salaries in the Atlanta area, and have found that dept websites tend to only post starting pay, but never provide full payscales. I think it is important for prospective applicants to know how a dept's salary schedule progresses, with annual contract raises / merit raises / grade steps / etc. Specifically, what will the salary be after 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, and so on. The specific depts I am looking at are Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Cobb County, and Gwinnett County. Are there any online links to this information, or can anyone provide any insight? I would greatly appreciate any information, thanks.
    They don't post the salary, because the salary doesn't increase much over time. The recruitment goal is to hook you, not to sustain you. With some departments you may start in the 30k range and ten years down the road you may still be in that range.

    As for contracts, they don't exist, you get what they decide to give you or you move on. We generally don't negotiaite pay and benefits at most agencies and even the few that may allow the formal providing of input on pay issues, that input is merely taken under advisement and no guarantees or promises exist, which makes it extremely difficult to plan for your future. Some departments have grade increases, but most have been frozen for years.

    Simply put, they don't post the payscale, because they don't want you to know what you'll make in the future and they don't want you to know that your chances of getting decent raises are slim to none, until after your already on the job.

    Most cops work second jobs and over-time to survive. Although, I can't speak for other agencies, at my agency if you get hurt, they only pay you 60% of your base salary and of course you can't work your extra jobs, so your pretty much screwed...

    So I am not accused of only being negative, I will also add that quite a few agencies provide take-home vehicles that, of course, helps out financially. But the take-home vehicle isn't guaranteed and is another headache that hopefully someone else on here will elaborate on for ya...
    Last edited by NIGHTWATCHMEN; 04-13-2011, 04:45 PM.
    "The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it."

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow, that is actually really disconcerting. I am in complete shock that salaries in the area are so deflated. I have been completely prepared to take a pay cut to come south, but I thought it would only be a year or two of that starting salary before grade increases made the pay more reasonable. I certainly don't want to offend anyone, but those salaries are truly deplorable. Even with the lower cost of living down there, that payscale is prehistoric.

      I actually try to avoid off-duty jobs. I enjoy my free time, and don't want to have to work myself to death just in order to remain financially solvent. I will work the occasional job when the money is right, but I don't need it to pay the bills. I have seen the damage too much off-duty does to some of my friends, and I would never want to be in that situation. Ruined marriages, no sleep, mental exhaustion... no thanks. I try to live within the means of my primary salary, so that I'm not dependent on side work to pay the bills. That way, any supplemental income is exactly that: fun money.

      Take-home cars are actually a complete wash in my book. I know this is a regional thing, but where I live and work cops don't have take home cars. We have pool cars that are housed at the station and not personally assigned. If I had a take-home here, it would just get tagged/damaged/set on fire/burglarized/etc., and I don't want to deal with that BS. None of my neighbors know what I do, and I have no desire to place a big target on my home. We have already had numerous incidents of officers' homes being specifically targeted and burglarized, so why make it even easier for the turds to find me. Again, I know different parts of the country have different philosophies about take-homes, but for me personally my mind is set. So if I did get assigned a take-home car, it would just sit in the station lot anyway, so it is of no real value to me (other than the fact that I don't have to share it with a bunch of disgusting slobs that don't care about maintenance or cleanliness).

      Getting back to the salary thing though: Alpharetta's website shows a "Master Police Officer" designation that apparently kicks in after seven years, and brings your salary to $77K. Do you really mean to tell me that there are no substantial raises in the first six years, and that suddenly you wake up one morning and your salary has increased from ~$40K to $77K overnight?? That would be one heck of a good morning! Or is it just a false lure by the city, and realistically no one ever makes that promotion? My current salary is in the mid 70s, and I am completely willing (and expecting) to take a temporary nasty paycut in order to move to the area. However, I was assuming that that nasty paycut would only hurt for a year or two, and then the salary would balance itself out, especially as a lateral with seven years experience and a degree. The lowest I am willing to go with salary is ~$60K/year after four years or so. Am I completely out of my mind to expect that kind of pay at any of these agencies?

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      • #4
        In less you plan on a supervisory or command promotion in those four years, you can forget about that kind of pay around here. I don't know of any metro atl agencies that increase pay that much in that amount of time.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, I didn't even click on this thread until you told me to because I didn't think I'd be able to help you out.

          However, what these guys are telling you is the complete truth. I don't know of any officer that isn't working off duty jobs. But that might be because that's how I've met most of them.

          You would be hard pressed to make 60K after 4 years with no over time or off duty gigs. I can't say that it's not possible because I'm not in the actual field but I haven't heard of it happening. I know guys with 10+ years knocking that down plus more.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jannino View Post
            Well, I didn't even click on this thread until you told me to because I didn't think I'd be able to help you out.

            However, what these guys are telling you is the complete truth. I don't know of any officer that isn't working off duty jobs. But that might be because that's how I've met most of them.

            You would be hard pressed to make 60K after 4 years with no over time or off duty gigs. I can't say that it's not possible because I'm not in the actual field but I haven't heard of it happening. I know guys with 10+ years knocking that down plus more.
            I would agree with Jannino and FreeAgent. I know of veterans with 20 years or more on the job, that have opted to stay in the field and not go supervisory, in some of the metro PDs that have just recently reached the base pay range that you expect as a minimum after four years.

            If you are coming from a Northern metro department where you are accustomed to a higher pay scales, competitive bargaining, a strong union with a strong say in how things get done, etc., then I would strongly suggest thinking twice and perhaps three or four times before making the move down South. Many of us are two income families, and we still need to work extra jobs to achieve our slice of the American Dream, all inclusive of car loans and second mortgages. Overtime, while there, is something that has been cutback substantially. Oh yeah, also keep in mind that some (but certainly not all) municipalities no longer offer the traditional defined benefit retirement "pension" plans for officers and firefighters, but instead contribute to a 401K plan, just like private companies do.

            That's the reality down here south of the Mason-Dixon line. Ain't too many chances to make the kind of base an NYPD officer might see after year 5, which if I recall according to the contract that was in effect back in 09 was in the shadow of like 80 - 90K. Know that before getting sucked in, my Northern brother in blue. Or stay put up Nawth.
            Last edited by stiletto; 04-18-2011, 05:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Bunk, other than the weather, I cannot think of a good reason to move from a Western/ Northern department to come South. What the other officers have said is true. We have no job protections other than our HR department, and that may not be of much worth. Georgia is a "right to work" state. They can pretty much do to you what ever they want to.

              I say stay where the grass IS greener!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Everybody scared the guy away! Shame on all of you!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jannino View Post
                  Everybody scared the guy away! Shame on all of you!!!
                  Hey, wait a minute, I was able to think of at least one good job benefit offered by some agencies down here.
                  "The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jannino View Post
                    Everybody scared the guy away! Shame on all of you!!!
                    Maybe we did the guy a favor. OK, the weather is nicer down here, I'll give you that, except for the tornadoes, and I'll admit it is nice having my own clean and decent smelling take home car. But damn, if I were pulling down the kind of change they do at some of these Northern depts, with the strong union, and retirement in some cases starting at 20 years, I'd be hard pressed to leave for what we got here. Unless of course there were extenuating circumstances beyond my control, such as family or other personal reasons......

                    If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have done things differently almost 20 years ago, and targeted one of the higher paying departments up North. Heck, with a lot of hard work and luck, instead of chasing what little OT there is, scrounging and fighting for EJs down here, I'd be out collecting a pension by now and starting a second career. Like a dude I know from Suffolk County PD who went to college on the PD dime, put in his time with the department, now he's making more than he did before working for a tactical training firm, traveling around the country and making videos teaching other cops how to stay alive.
                    Last edited by stiletto; 04-22-2011, 11:16 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Great thread.

                      Would anyone happen to know what the pay scale is for Investigator in the APD?

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                      • #12
                        Most cops work second jobs and over-time to survive. Although, I can't speak for other agencies, at my agency if you get hurt, they only pay you 60% of your base salary and of course you can't work your extra jobs, so your pretty much screwed...
                        60% of 30,000 + a year WTF is that all about? Not right to treat the Men & Woman who serve their community. That's BS and not right. You get hemmed up (hurt) doing your job (protecting the community) and depending on the injury you could lose your home, worry about putting food on your table- etc?? WOW that's amazing.. Not the way Officer's should be treated in my book. Between your schedule, missing family functions, Holiday's Kid's sporting events you should NEVER have to worry about being hurt. ...Rant done

                        Did you tell the OP about the pension?
                        MDRDEP:

                        There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jcioccke View Post
                          60% of 30,000 + a year WTF is that all about? Not right to treat the Men & Woman who serve their community. That's BS and not right. You get hemmed up (hurt) doing your job (protecting the community) and depending on the injury you could lose your home, worry about putting food on your table- etc?? WOW that's amazing.. Not the way Officer's should be treated in my book. Between your schedule, missing family functions, Holiday's Kid's sporting events you should NEVER have to worry about being hurt. ...Rant done

                          Did you tell the OP about the pension?
                          When I first started, I couldn't understand why some of the veterans would just answer calls and go home. After being around for a good little stretch, now I understand. When you get hurt chasing or fighting with a criminal, your income decreases significantly and alot of times the criminal is back on the streets before you even finish healing to the point where you can come back to work. Alot of vets work the way they get paid, little pay=little work, as with anything you get what you pay for!
                          "The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Man, you guys are cracking me up now. You didn't scare me away, I've just been burned out the last couple days. I knew coming in that pay down there was just not the same, but it didn't occur to me just how different it is. First off, I am in Colorado, not the north. Although I guess you could refer to us as a "northern style" dept when it comes to pay and benefits. We have collective bargaining, strong unions, civil service, defined-benefit pensions (vested in 5 years, normal retirement is 25yrs service & 55yrs old), full pay for LOD injuries (and supplementary insurance that actually makes LOD injuries profitable!), full legal protection, etc. We don't have it as good as some truly northern depts, like my buddy who put in five years with NYPD and now has full retiree medical benefits for life. But you won't hear me complaining about my current benefits regardless.

                            Also, I grew up in the south, and spent four years in the Atlanta area, so I'm familiar with the region and the lifestyle. I actually left the south after college with the "grass is greener" attitude, but in many ways I was wrong. Pay and benefits for public service jobs? Oh yeah, that grass is MUCH greener out here! But for many other quality of life factors, it's just dried-out brown tumbleweeds where I live. Cost of living, housing prices, weather, culture, and politics are just some of the reasons that I am not happy here, and I truly want out. There are certain days where I wake up and just truly feel miserable, and am half-tempted to just call work and say I'm never coming back. Winters out here are the worst, because it gets stupid cold for about five months straight, and I end up just hibernating at home and only leaving to go to work. I hate being sheltered like that, because my whole life revolves around the outdoors. As soon as summer comes around, I am in Heaven, but the feeling is short-lived because winter is right around the corner again. Compare this to northern Georgia, which I absolutely LOVED. Tolerable weather year-round, the Appalachians, affordable housing, great people, overall great quality of life, and great memories.

                            The other thing that I currently have going for me is that I'm not married, and have no kids. So really, other than my friends and a painfully underwater mortgage, I have no significant ties to this area that would prevent me from leaving. People with families have a lot more factors to consider when thinking about moving, and I am lucky to be free of those constraints. So, the way I look at it, if I really am miserable and I really am going to take the plunge and move, NOW is the time to do it, while there are no strong ties to sever. I know for a fact that I am simply not happy here, and that I do not see myself spending another decade in this state. That is for sure. So why not just make my move already and get it over with? Good pay and benefits are definitely nice to have, but what good are they if you are miserable with where you live. I can't put a price on my happiness.

                            Okay, the tone of my thread drifted a little bit there... back on topic. I must admit that, after being confronted with the reality of regional salaries, I just can't see myself taking that much of a plunge. If I was independently wealthy, or won the lottery, or had a non-public service job, I would probably move back to Atlanta in a heartbeat. The problem is, I am none of these things. I LOVE being a cop, and just can't see myself doing anything else. With that being said, I guess I will shift my focus back to Texas, which is the other area I have been looking at for a move. I REALLY TRULY wanted Atlanta to work out, because that's where my heart is, but I just can't take that kind of pay/benefits cut. At the Texas depts I have been looking at, I can lateral in with a starting pay in the high $60s, and be in the $70s within a couple years easy. These depts also provide pensions and benefits, unions, and civil service. Plus: no state income tax, better weather, MUCH better political environment, lower cost of living, more affordable housing.

                            Stiletto, If I could do it all over again, I would do the exact opposite of what you are saying. I would have just started my police career in Georgia with an Atlanta-area dept, and that way I would never have even gotten a taste of what the higher paying northern/western depts offer. Because once you get a taste (like me, a seven year taste...) it becomes damn near impossible to let it go. So sure, you might make good pay and benefits somewhere else, but the downside is that if you're not happy you are just SOL, there's no going back because you can't take the financial hit. So, if I had just stayed in Georgia, where I know I was happy and I could see myself living the rest of my life until the day I die, I never would have gotten the addictive taste of money. Because now it's just so hard to let go.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ..still reading Be back

                              LMAO jk

                              Good Luck my Friend I hope it all works out for you.
                              MDRDEP:

                              There are no stupid questions, but there sure are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

                              Comment

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