Council wants more time to study proposal

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KINDER — Police officers here will have to wait a little longer on a proposed plan to increase their pay for working a special traffic enforcement detail (S.T.E.D.).

The council was set to approve a resolution to increase the hourly rate for the S.T.E.D. from $25 to $35 an hour Monday, but the matter was tabled to allow the council more time to study the proposal.

“Twenty-five dollars is a lot of money in Kinder cause there’s not that many jobs,” Councilwoman Angie Van Norman said.

Police Chief Paul Courville said officers have not been participating in the program as much as they were when the program began five years ago. Many of the officers have second jobs that pay more than $25 a hour, he said.

“They have other jobs that pay just as good, if not better,” Courville said. Increasing the hourly pay by $10 would provide extra incentives for the officers to work the additional traffic detail program, he said.

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Councilman Chris Fontenot said the increase is something that the council and police chief need to “sit down and look at.”

“I don’t know that throwing more money at them is going to get them any more excited about working the S.T.E.D. program, if they aren’t working it now for $25 an hour,” Fontenot said.

Van Norman also questioned if the S.T.E.D. program brings in enough money to justify the increase.

“If they are doing $50,000 a month in ticket writing and we’re paying out $20,000, of course we can do it,” she said. Town clerk Traci Fontenot said the town budgeted $10,000 in revenues for the program last year. As of March 31, the program had brought in less than $4,000, she said.

“I would like to see statistics in black and white in front of me before I vote on this because that is a big jump,” Fontenot said. “If we are going to give a police officer a $10 an hour raise, we have to have something to justify it. People will want to see tangible facts.”

Under the program, officers conduct special traffic enforcement details in areas of Kinder which have a history of noncompliance with traffic laws and regulations.

“They are looking for speeders, drunk drivers and any other street violation,” Courville said.

The officers work an 8-12 hour shift, usually on weekends and holidays, when not working their regularly scheduled shifts. Officers are not allowed to work the program while on annual leave, sick leave or personal days.

Revenue from traffic citations issued during the special detail are designated as “Police S.T.E.D” funds. The funds are used by the police department to fund the program, including salaries, to buy equipment and supplies and pay for other costs associated with the program.

‘If we are going to give a police officer a $10 an hour raise, we have to have something to justify it.’

Chris Fontenot

Kinder city councilman