ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A federal mediator is trying to help the city of St. Louis and the police union to reach a deal on pay raises for officers – even as the current contract is set to expire at midnight.

While both sides try to reach a deal, Police Union Business Manager Jeff Roorda says the fear of a mass exodus of officers to other departments is real.

The fear is based off of a internal survey of officers, Roorda claims.

“I thought we were looking at 100 officers leaving,” Roorda says. “The number of people who want to leave for higher salaries is much, much bigger than that,” Roorda says.

Roorda says the gravity of the crisis is greater than they anticipated. He adds the city claims it doesn’t have the money for funding.

“They are about to approve $1 billion plus budget this year,” Roorda says. “So, I don’t think there’s not a single listener on your radio station that doesn’t realize that this is a matter of priorities.”

The city has been looking at new funding sources to boost police pay, but there’s nothing in place yet.

He says if the talks were to reach an impasse, then they’d have to agree to binding arbitration.

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