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Cape Coral Police Department serves notice to officers who failed to obtain education credits

By Staff | Dec 8, 2010

The Cape Coral Police Department has served official notice to 10 Cape Coral police officers of the department’s intent to seek repayment of wages for their failure to attain the required educational credits. The educational requirement of 60 credits is a provision for employment with the department. The 10 officers received their official notice Wednesday afternoon.
One additional officer has yet to receive his letter as he is out of the state.
The officers were identified after interim Police Chief Jay Murphy initiated a complete review of department personnel to confirm that all Cape Coral police officers had met their educational obligation for employment, officials said in a prepared statement released late Wednesday.
The education requirement is mandatory for officers to move up in “step” levels and receive the higher pay provided at each level.
“City management, with the aid of the City’s labor attorneys, has been attempting to address these breaches in the officers’ pre-employment agreements for several weeks with the union and have been unsuccessful,” said Murphy said in the statement. “We need to move forward and resolve this matter, and these notices spell out the terms of settlement for each of the officers.”
The 11 officers must repay the city for the additional dollars they received as a result of moving to higher pay levels although the required educational credits had not been earned, officials said. The officers also will be returned to their appropriate step and have their pay reduced by 10 percent. Each officer will be required to obtain the necessary 60 credits (15 credits per year over 48 months) beginning in January 2011.
In addition to identifying the 11 officers who did not attain the required educational credits, the review also found that one Cape Coral police officer had met the educational requirement but not received the appropriate salary step increases. Officer Kelvin Thompkins will receive the necessary step adjustment in pay, and the city will make arrangements to provide the retroactive pay amount due to Thompkins, officials said.
In light of the systemic problems that were identified in the review, Murphy, with the concurrence of the City’s Human Resources Department, changed the minimum qualifications by requiring all newly hired officers to have obtained 60 credit hours prior to any offer of employment. This change will eliminate the need for future pre-employment educational agreements.

Editor’s Note: The city of Cape Coral has said an inaccurate statement was included in Wednesday’s release about the 11 officers and the educational pay. The city has asked that the statement that the 11 officers must repay the City for the additional dollars they received as a result of moving to higher pay levels “by claiming to have the required educational credits” be withdrawn. The Breeze has deleted that inaccurate comment in the story above.

Source: City of Cape Coral