Some irked that airport security guards have about same starting salary as CMPD officers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the city of Charlotte tries to hire 150 police officers, it is also actively looking for more security officers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Eyewitness News uncovered that starting salaries for security guards at the airport are essentially the same as those of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers.

Some say that's outrageous when you consider the danger the police officers face every day.

The starting salary is essentially the same. Starting salary for a security officer at Charlotte Douglas is $43,410. Starting salary for a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer is $43,492.

While both positions require training, officials with the Fraternal Order of Police said pressure and intensity on a security guard is not on the same level as a CMPD officer.

"Nothing against what the airport security officers do, they have different job qualifications, but I don't think you can compare that to what officers in Charlotte do on a daily basis," said Mark Michalec, of FOP Lodge 9.

The Fraternal Order of Police officials say this is a good example of why the group is planning to push new councilmembers to increase CMPD pay to help recruit new officers.

Parker Cains, a city council candidate, said it's a topic that deserves attention.

"By paying police officers more and making the job more attractive, we'll be able to attract the highest quality of candidates," Cains said.

Councilmember Julie Eiselt, who is head of the community safety committee and helped lead efforts to hire more officers, said she agrees.

Eiselt said she is open to a pay raise, if that's what CMPD Chief Kerr Putney thinks is best.

"We have given the chief everything he's asked for," Eiselt said. "Public safety has been our No. 1 priority, and I think you can see that in the way we've voted for his requests."

One reason the pay level is the same is that the positions are funded by different buckets of money. The airport's position comes from airport revenue, and CMPD officers are funded by tax dollars.

CMPD officers are also eligible for raises and benefits that airport security officers are not entitled to.

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