Safety concerns are growing as the Naples Police Department continues to lose officers. Now there are negotiations between the city and the department to get to the bottom of the problem.
The president and vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police say having a salary structure, or a step plan, would be the place to start.
They claim six of the last 12 officers hired are gone, but the city’s not interested in a salary structure.
WINK News reporter Annette Montgomery asked Naples City Councilman Mike McCabe why the city is not interested in moving back to a step plan.
McCabe said, “I’m not at liberty to say given what the negotiations are but we have other things, as far as the city. What we have on the table is very fair and a great response to what the union requirements are.”
It is a response that Erik Noe, the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Naples, said isn’t good enough to keep officers from looking for jobs in other places. “It’s a shame that they don’t want to do the right thing.”
Noe said in effect, Naples is becoming a training ground for officers because the city won’t put a salary structure in place.
“They give us a salary range; well you could make $53,000 up to $95,000. Well, how do I get to $95,000 City of Naples? They don’t have an answer. They just keep giving us 2%, 4% increases and we’re chasing the carrot and we can never get there,” said Noe.
Naples Interim City Manager Pete DiMaria said, “we feel confident that the amount of funds that we’re putting on the table. It’s over 20% in this 3-year contract.”
Jesse Granese, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge said it’s not good enough. It’s expensive to live in Naples. “Get out and actually talk with us, come ride with us, you can ride as a stand-in and see what we do every day. See what’s going on in your city, I feel if they did that, they would actually become more in touch with what’s going on in their city.”
Both sides believe they can get a deal done and believe that they’ve made progress since they started negotiations.
It is still unknown when those negotiations will end.