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Lady Lake boosted police pay by 30%, raised starting salary to $62K

Lady Lake officials hope a 30% pay increase and $62,000 starting salary can help their police department retain and recruit officers.
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Lady Lake officials hope a 30% pay increase and $62,000 starting salary can help their police department retain and recruit officers.

Lady Lake has struggled to fully staff a police department that's supposed to have 30 sworn officers but has only 22.

Now the growing Lake County town has a solution. In their next paycheck, its officers will see a 30% pay increase -- on top of their annual 6% raise from October.

Town Manager Bill Lawrence says the Lady Lake Police Department has also increased the starting pay for new officers -- which used to be $47,000 a year.

"[W]hen talking to the commission, we gave them options to be competitive at 60 or to be top in the region right now at 62. And that's what they choose," Lawrence said.

That new contract with the Florida Police Benevolent Association nudges Lady Lake just past the $61,225 starting pay announced by the Leesburg Police Department over the summer.

"I gotta be honest with you," Lawrence added. "I've never been involved in anything like this before, but sometimes, you know ,with the changing times and what we're dealing with and trying to entice people to go into public services, you gotta make some moves. And here we did."

He said the Town Commission is using the million dollars it saved last year by being so understaffed.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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