CHARLOTTE -- Officers have said morale is low at CMPD and they want higher salaries.

“You want to promote Charlotte as a city of choice, well your officers also have a choice, and we are choosing to leave,” said CMPD Officer Daniel Redford last week.

Officers made that clear to city council last month. They say the starting salary of roughly $44,000 isn't enough.

Some officers said the effects of those low salaries have not only resulted in them leaving the department, it's also meant they've had to get second jobs.

Spectrum News reached out to CMPD and found 90 percent of eligible employees last year worked second jobs. That compares to just 69 percent of officers in Raleigh who worked some sort of secondary employment.

“It could run the gammit. They could be working traffic, doing security at one of our events, a marathon,” said CMPD Public Affairs Director Rob Tufano.

Putting a toll on officers.

“The stat I heard from you, 90 percent of our police department has to have secondary income, if that doesn't bother you, you need to revalue your priorities,” said (R) Charlotte City Councilor Tariq Bokhari.

Fraternal Order of Police members have specific requests including a 15 percent raise for all CMPD officers, a reinstatement of retiree health care insurance and overtime for working holidays.

The price tag for the raise is roughly $ 22 million. It’s an amount Bakhari said is fair but might be hard to accomplish.

“We saw a recommendation for four and a half percent,” Bakhari said. “The ask is 15, so maybe it's somewhere in between there. I hope it's closer to 15.”

How much the city can afford will be decided by council. But if police don't get a raise officers said more of them will be forced to leave.

City Manager Marcus Jones will present his final budget recommendation on May 7th.