McAllen signs largest compensation package in police union’s history

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Sgt. Jesus Regalado Jr., president of the McAllen Professional Law Enforcement Association, signs a four-year collective bargaining agreement during a ceremony at McAllen City Hall on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (Dina Arevalo | [email protected])

McALLEN — Officials here solidified their commitment to McAllen police officers by signing the largest compensation package in the police union’s history.

The collective bargaining agreement, which city and union leaders signed during a ceremony at McAllen City Hall on Thursday, guarantees officers will receive a cumulative 16% pay raise over the next four years.

“In the history of the police department, this is the … largest compensation contract ever accomplished by the city,” Sgt. Jesus Regalado Jr., president of the McAllen Professional Law Enforcement Association, said after the signing ceremony.

The raises will go into effect at the start of the city’s fiscal year.

McAllen’s police officers — from the newest rookie to assistant chiefs — will see a 5% pay bump this October and next, followed by two 3% pay increases in 2026 and 2027.

Under the terms of the new agreement, a new officer can begin their career at the McAllen Police Department with a base salary of $62,224.56.

That figure is nearly $3,000 more than the 2023 new officer starting pay of $59,261.49.

Meanwhile, a newly minted sergeant will make a minimum base pay of $77.185.40, compared to $73,509.90, and a new lieutenant will make $88,737.89 in 2024 compared to $84,512.27.

An officer who achieves a promotion to assistant chief will make a minimum base salary of $123,430.84 in 2024, compared to a base pay of $117,553.18 if they had been promoted in 2023.

“It’s a real leap forward,” McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.

The chief added that, previously, officer compensation has only risen about 30% over the past two decades of the police union’s history.

“It is appropriate given the nature of the work that our officers do every day. We’re really happy for them, but we’re most thankful to our community because it’s our community that gave us the opportunity to do this,” Rodriguez said.

McAllen city leaders celebrate after signing a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the McAllen Professional Law Enforcement Association. Shown from left: McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, Mayor Javier Villalobos, MPLEA President Sgt. Jesus Regalado Jr., Detective Nicholas “Nico” Crane, Officer Nancy Lopez, and Steve Ayala, representative from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, and McAllen City Attorney Isaac Tawill. (Dina Arevalo | [email protected])

The police chief wasn’t the only one to thank McAllen residents. So, too, did Mayor Javier Villalobos.

“Last year, we were named as the third safest city in the country,” Villalobos said.

“And that doesn’t happen by chance. It happens because we have, first of all, a pretty good, law-abiding community, and then of course, we know we have a very excellent police department,” he said.

For McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, Thursday’s signing ceremony marked a high moment for the city.

“We’re in a good place today. I’m happy. I’m happy for them (police officers) and I’m happy for the community,” Roy Rodriguez said.

The city manager added that part of the reason McAllen was able to come to such a competitive agreement is because the city is currently enjoying historic financial good fortune.

“While the package is probably the best that they’ve ever gotten, we are in the best shape we’ve ever been. And so, it’s the right thing to do and it gets us to where we need to be with the police department,” Roy Rodriguez said.

Officials say they hope the compensation package will help McAllen stay competitive in a law enforcement landscape where state and federal agencies often lure local officers away.

“It’s important to provide compensation to be equal to the level of service that is provided by the police department. And that, of course, comes with retention and attracting more police officers to the city of McAllen,” Regalado, the union president said.

But for the police chief, though losing officers to other agencies is an issue that plagues many local police departments, for him, it’s also a point of pride. It means those other agencies see the value in the caliber of officer McAllen produces.

“Very often I’m asked, ‘Well, don’t you worry about that?’ No, I don’t worry. I’m proud of that. We’re proud of that fact that we are a source of police personnel for state and federal agencies,” Victor Rodriguez said.

“We’re proud of that fact. I would worry if they weren’t hiring our personnel,” he said.