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Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced Friday that his administration has reached tentative agreements with the three Fraternal Order of Police bargaining units which represent Pensacola police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants.

The city has clashed with police officers this year over pay and benefits, with officers arguing that low pay and changes to retirement benefits has caused many officers to leave for other departments. Nearly half of the department’s officers have left since 2015, according to the union, with three officers leaving for the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in just the past three months.

“As Mayor, I have always valued and prioritized our men and women in public safety,” Hayward said in a statement. “These agreements confirm my commitment to have the premier law enforcement agency in northwest Florida. Public safety will continue to remain a top priority of my administration.”

The tentative three-year agreement, which would take effect on October 1, calls for a 10% salary increase for police officers in the first year of the contract, followed by 4% increases in the second and third years.

“We’re excited,” said Officer Pat Burns, union president. “We think it’s a good deal for the officers and we think it will be a good tool to attract some good talent to the department and retain the quality talent that we have.”

The deal won’t be finalized until some remaining specifics are worked out and both the full union membership and City Council vote to ratify it. Burns said he expects those votes to come in September.

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