Denver police officers will get raises in 2022, arbitrator decides

The final contract with the union is identical to the one first submitted to — and rejected by — the city council.

Ana Formoza hands a flower to a Denver Police officer on the sixth day of protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. June 2, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Ana Formoza hands a flower to a Denver Police officer on the sixth day of protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. June 2, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

An independent arbitrator has awarded the Denver Police Department two salary bumps in 2022, ending a stalemate between the city government and the police union.

On Monday, an arbitration hearing resulted in new contract terms that “mirror” what the union asked for this summer, according to a press release from the Denver Police Protective Association. Spokespeople for Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration confirmed that the final terms of the contract are identical to the terms of the contract rejected by the Denver City Council in October.

The two-year contract includes a wage freeze and no paid holidays in 2021, and two pay bumps equating to 2.7 percent in 2022. Council members voted 8 to 5 against the contract, sending it to an arbitrator for a final decision. Some members cited the central role of police funding in a movement to reform law enforcement. Others said Denver’s economic outlook is too sketchy to promise raises.

Because the city council and the mayor disagreed on DPD raises, the city government did not submit a “last and final offer” to the arbitrator, said Ryan Luby, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office. The union’s final offer was identical to its original request of a pay bump worth nearly 3 percent in 2022. So that’s what the arbitrator went with.

The Denver police officers’ new contract follows a summer of violence that saw officers use weapons on protesters during demonstrations against racism and police brutality. The Denver Police Department’s contract happened to be due for a re-up this year.

In the release, the union thanked Mayor Michael Hancock and his administration, as well as the five city council members who voted for the contract: Kevin Flynn, Kendra Black, Jolon Clark, Christopher Herndon and Debbie Ortega.

Neither police union president Nick Rogers nor a spokesperson for the union have responded to interview requests.

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