City council approves new police contract

By D. Richard Roth

The DeKalb City Council approved a police agency contract last week that extends benefits for DeKalb police officers another two years.

“The council approved a two-year contract for DeKalb’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) which is retroactive back to Jan. 1, 1993 and runs through Dec. 31, 1994,” said Dean Kruithof, DeKalb assistant city manager and chief negotiator for the city.

He said the city has been negotiating with the FOP since October 1992.

“The negotiations have gone pretty well all along,” he said. “We did have one mediation session, after which both sides agreed to most of the terms in the contract.”

The contract calls for a 4.5 percent pay increase in 1993 and a 3 percent increase in 1994, Kruithof said. The clothing allowance for DeKalb’s police officers also increased from $500 to $575 per year.

While many aspects of the contract put more money in an officer’s pocket, one provision will take some out.

“The employee health care contribution will increase from $8.50 per week to $14.75 per week this year,” he said. “In 1994 the health care contribution of the employee will increase to $15.50 per week.”

The new FOP contract also calls for the city to augment its contribution to an officer’s law enforcement education.

“If an officer attends school for law enforcement purposes he will be reimbursed up to $750 per year for tuition,” Kruithof said.

In addition to changing the economic aspects of the old FOP contract, several non-economic issues were resolved.

“The city will now require and pay for bullet-proof vests for all officers,” he said. “This will cost the city around $342 per bullet-proof vest.”

Kruithof said the city also will implement a maternity plan for its officers which will allow a pregnant officer to take another non-street job within the department.

“We would switch the pregnant officer to non-street duty which could include detective or research work,” he said.

In another move, the new FOP contract calls for DeKalb Police lieutenants who previously were covered under the old FOP contract to now fall under the umbrella of the city’s management plan, Kruithof said.

One additional deviation from the old contract is the city’s new dispute resolution method.

“The contract now allows an officer who has been brought up on departmental charges, which could result in discipline or dismissal, to choose between the DeKalb Board of Fire and Police Commissioners or an arbitrator,” he said.

He said this now places DeKalb Police officers on equal footing with DeKalb firefighters.

“This is an option available to DeKalb fire fighters,” he said. “The old contract would have called for the officer to appear before the board of commissioners.”

While the contract has been consented to by both sides in spirit, it will formally be signed this week.