Multiple law enforcement agencies in key locations around California are offering big money to join their ranks— if you’re willing to relocate.
The staffing crisis has affected departments all across the country but police departments and sheriff’s offices in the Bay Area struggling to attract qualified officers have decided to try large monetary incentives.
For example, the Alameda Police Department is offering a $75,000 signing bonus, a previously unheard-of incentive that is among the top in the United States.
Alameda, a Bay Area city with an “urban/suburban” feel, has long struggled with keeping officers on the streets.
“There were times when there were only two officers on duty to patrol the entire city, a city of over 70,000 residents,” Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi told NBC Bay Area. “Ever since we put this incentive in place, we have had hundreds of applications come in.”
But living in the Bay Area is not for the faint of heart.
“To be able to live here in the Bay Area and work here is tough. At the end of a 10 to 12-hour shift, if you have to drive an hour away, that’s going to weigh on your decision-making,” said Joshi. “What we did is come up with an incentive that addresses that concern.”
The Bay Area Rapid Transit [BART] Police also came up with a small $15,000 bonus to attract more candidates.
“We have 50 people who are currently in backgrounds,” said Interim Chief of BART police Kevin Franklin, “which is the highest number that we have ever had. Every agency is competing for a small pool of good applicants.”
In Hayward, $10,000 to $20,000 signing bonuses, while Vacaville and Richmond Police, along with the California Department of Corrections, are also looking at trying to lure people in with promises of a fat wallet.
“This is a team effort,” said Joshi. “It is important that we as an industry are trying to get the best officers and get every agency fully staffed. Because, I think, if we do that, we can certainly impact public safety regionally throughout the Bay Area.”
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