CROWLEY, La. (KLFY) Crowley police will soon be getting one of their biggest pay raises ever.

This comes after a heated debate between the mayor and the police chief at Wednesday’s city council meeting.

Initially, Mayor Chad Monceaux argued past issues with the budget made giving the officers raises a risk, as the money is budgeted but not definitely funded.

After hearing discussion from both the mayor and the police chief, the city council voted unanimously to increase police officer base pay to $36,000 per year. After 90 days in good standing, the officer will get a pay increase of $42,000 per year with a 2% annual pay increase. That’s a $10,000 raise for most officers.

Crowley Police Chief Troy Hebert says in the last year, 21 employees left the Crowley Police Department. 19 of them said their reason for leaving was the low pay. Chief Hebert says that will soon change after the council’s decision.

“We have a lot of officers that were making so much less than other agencies in our area. We’re in the radius of Lafayette and the surrounding areas so unfortunately, we have to compete with them. This definitely is a game changer for us,” Chief Hebert told News 10.

“Instead of us just getting the bottom of the barrel, everybody else’s rejects coming to apply, we are going to get some of the top. Our city is paying for professional police officers, and that’s what they’re going to give them,” he added.

The chief says the department was severely short-handed, as many officers were leaving. That caused their remaining officers to be overworked.

“You see the stress in the guys. You see the stress when they’re handling calls and the way they talk to people. This is really going to make a big difference and allow our department to move forward in the way we should and also to protect our citizens,” the chief said.

The raise will go into effect for officers in June.