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Police Officers Protest In St. Louis

CLAYTON, Mo. - Demanding better benefits and salaries, 100 St. Louis County police officers and their supporters picketed the county administration building Tuesday afternoon and 120 uniformed officers packed the County Council meeting Tuesday night to stress their point.

A St. Louis County officer's starting pay is $40,177, compared to officers' starting salaries in nearby jurisdictions that range from $36,200 to $42,600, public records state.

County Executive Charlie Dooley said the officers are adequately paid, but acknowledged that the department lags behind others in terms of out-of-pocket benefit payments.

"We have a retirement package that is second to none," Dooley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We have outstanding midrange pay of around $52,000. And there's no salary ceiling; no one gets topped out."

Dooley said he has a plan to increase the starting pay for all ranks of officers by 10 percent next year and that the county is committed to improving benefits. With 1,000 employees, including 750 uniformed officers, the police department is the largest group of the county's 4,000 employees.

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