By ANGELICA CABRAL Bay Area News Group
HAYWARD – In an effort to attract more police officers, Hayward will offer a hiring bonus for entry-level officers and a $20,000 one for experienced officers from other agencies.
In addition, current city employees who refer someone to be hired will be eligible for a $2,000 bonus. A experienced officer is considered to be someone who is already with a different police agency.
“The Hayward Police Department has experienced a significantly diminished pool of well-qualified police officer applicants due to the competitive market and other factors,” Police Chief Toney Chaplin wrote in a letter to the mayor and City Council.
The City Council unanimously approved the hiring bonus at its meeting Tuesday. Hayward, like many other cities, has had issues with both hiring officers and retaining them.
Some other area police agencies are using signing bonuses as well for entry-level positions and academy graduates. BART is offering a $15,000 signing bonus and Palo Alto is offering $10,000. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is offering $12,000 to academy graduates and $10,000 to deputy sheriff recruits.
“This amount is competitive and provides for a substantial recruitment advantage as compared to agencies recruiting in the region,” Chaplin wrote in a letter to the council. “The employee hired would make a three-year commitment or repay the city on a prorated basis.”
Some local cities are offering even higher hiring bonuses for experienced officers. Alameda is offering $30,000 and Palo Alto is offering $25,000.
The police department expects that hiring 19 officers through both the entry level and lateral bonus programs will cost up to $280,000.